Double Blind write…
A fixture in Vancouver’s cannabis scene, Larsen’s accustomed to navigating legal gray areas. A cannabis dispensary owner and longtime legalization activist, he’s co-founder of the Vancouver Seed Bank, an online dispensary for cannabis, peyote, and coca seeds, and former editor of Cannabis Culture, a magazine founded by Canada’s “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery.
Larsen’s activism pushed him to run for federal office in 2000 and provincial office in 2001 as a founding member of the Marijuana Party of Canada and the BC Marijuana Party, respectively. He’s since become a member of the New Democratic Party, one of Canada’s three major political parties, urging its leadership to support alternative approaches to drug policy such as safe injection sites for opioids.
Yet he’s something of a strange politician, because the other side of Larsen’s activism has involved breaking the law in order to change it. As a dispensary owner, he’s contributed to the collective effort of the underground cannabis community to normalize and eventually legalize cannabis. Years of activism on behalf of that community has involved breaking the law to sell cannabis in dispensaries, publicly emphasizing its medicinal value, and challenging the federal ban on its use and possession in court—and the same could happen for psilocybin.
Throughout that time, cannabis existed in a gray area, in which police only actively pursued dispensary owners when ordered to do so by higher-ups. Just as the police have looked the other way for years while cannabis dispensaries opened up in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, Larsen is now hoping that law enforcement will take that same approach to psilocybin. He’s not the only one. At least one other psilocybin dispensary in Canada, called Blue Goba, is doing the same thing.
When DoubleBlind spoke to Larsen, he had only been operating the dispensary for two weeks and claimed to have served 100 patients in just that short time. At this time, all of Larsen’s patients are Canadian and his online service does not ship to the United States—though he notes that Americans have certainly made requests.
Patients who sign up for the service are more akin to club members than to customers. For a one-time membership fee of $10 CAD, they receive personally tailored microdoses of psilocybin with a recommended dose and rate-of-use based on the individual patient’s needs and experience with psychedelics. In addition to consulting with Larsen about dosage, patients must provide proof of a diagnosis that would warrant psilocybin treatment. This can come in the form of prescription bottles, insurance forms, or a recommendation from a doctor or naturopath to prove they’ve been diagnosed with an illness, such as PTSD, depression, cancer-related anxiety, or any other ailments that psilocybin has shown promise for.
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