Cautious but eager customers crowded a bright commercial storefront on West Burnside Street on Thursday.
On display were typical items. Supplements. Teas. Chocolates. Even jerky.
Plus a not-at-all discreet menu of prices for what the store identifies as different strains of dried psilocybin fungus, including 3.5 grams of “Knobby Tops” for $50 and 7 grams of “Albino Penis Envy” for $95.
“Are you looking for a functional micro-dose? Or do you want to go on a hike with some color enhancement and sparkles?” an unidentified employee asked a customer.
“I just want to have a normal day, but like with a smile,” a man in line replied.
Shroom House, at 1541 W. Burnside St., is branding itself as a wellness shop but is very much selling psilocybin in a dispensary-like setting – a retail format that is not legal in Oregon.
Oregon’s legal psilocybin program was created under Measure 109 and passed by voters in 2020. That program will allow people 21 and older to take the substance in a controlled, therapeutic environment under the supervision of trained facilitators when psychedelic mushrooms become legal in January 2023, according to the text of the measure. Measure 109 did not allow for the retail sale of psilocybin.
Under Measure 110, effective since early 2021, misdemeanor drug possession including psilocybin can result in police issuing tickets with fines up to $100, but not an arrest.
The Oregon Health Authority’s site for the program said it will begin accepting applications for manufacturing licenses on January 2, 2023.
The state agency confirmed Oregon has no licensed psilocybin facilitators or service centers at this time. But the agency said it’s not responsible for unregulated activity, including unlicensed possession, sale or consumption of psilocybin.
That’s local law enforcement’s job, a health authority spokesperson said.
Kevin Allen, a spokesperson for the Portland Police Bureau, said via email Thursday that the agency’s Narcotics and Organized Crime unit is aware of the allegations being made online about the location, but referred questions to the Oregon Health Authority.
“The nature of the (Narcotics and Organized Crime unit) work requires them to be pretty cautious about what they release publicly, so I can’t say more than the fact that they’re aware of it,” Allen said.
The signage outside the store is a white speckled red top mushroom house with the solicitation: “Come shop with us for all your mushroom needs!”
Shroom House, a Canadian company, calls itself an “online dispensary” with “mail-order magic mushrooms.” Representatives did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment Thursday. The website says users must be 19 or older to access.
The Portland storefront appears to have popped up in the past few weeks.
Inside, it looks like a dispensary or holistic shop: artificial vines hang from rafters above, large planted pots adorn the cement floor and white wooden shelves are sparsely speckled with products in a clean, airy space. They even have T-shirts with the logo.
Upon entry, customers are required to show two forms of I.D. – a driver’s license and debit or credit card – and fill out a form listing their name and address. They’re asked to become a member of the “Shroom House Society.”
Then they can purchase recreational mushrooms with cash. Of course, there’s an ATM in the corner.
On the counter, next to a register, a clear glass jar has a written note taped to it: “A tip for your trip.”
“This is crazy, everything Oregon is doing with decriminalization, I love it,” one customer who declined to give his name said on his way out. “I can’t see it being shut down,” he said, when asked if he was concerned about the legitimacy.
Other customers inside the store Thursday afternoon expressed anxiety at a TV news crew outside. They said they learned about the shop on Reddit, where a user posted a new Portland billboard advertising the shop.
The building at 1541 W. Burnside St. is owned by Sunjoy Realty, LLC, according to Secretary of State records. The property’s building manager, Mark Byrum, said the person who owns the new business started the lease within the past two months.
There are no listed business in Oregon registered under the name Shroom House, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
– Savannah Eadens; firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-221-6651; @savannaheadens
Reporter Lizzy Acker contributed to this story.
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