Former employee shares details about operations at Portland's Shroom House

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – On Thursday, there were only a few customers coming and going from Shroom House in Portland, Oregon.

Friday was a different story.

Nexstar’s KOIN observed people standing in long lines outside of the business that day, waiting for a chance to purchase psilocybin mushrooms.

As KOIN previously reported, however, state officials say the sale of psilocybin mushrooms is illegal in Oregon — now and in the future.

That fact may be confusing to some, especially since Oregon voters passed Measure 109 in 2020, effectively creating a two-year development period during which Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) has worked to set up systems and processes for the licensing and regulation of psilocybin products and provision of psilocybin services.

But in those cases, the use of psilocybin must be overseen by licensed therapeutic professional. The state also doesn’t even start accepting applications until next year, meaning there are no licensed facilitators or service centers at this time.

That apparently isn’t stopping the Shroom House, whose owner denied operating a dispensary but rather a “health and wellness shop.”

Customers, too, didn’t seem phased while waiting in line.

“I personally experimented with mushrooms as a way to treat bipolar type two as well as depression,” said Jesse, a customer at the store. “There’s been a lot of studies showing that consumption of psilocybin can lead to the disintegration of entrenched brain channels.”

Others told KOIN they were there to use the psychedelics recreationally.

“Well, I voted for psilocybin mushrooms in the election in 2020. And so I’m here to take part in that,” said Jesus Bogas, another customer at the Shroom House. “I understand there’s some legal technicalities with it, but I’m here to see what that’s all about. It’s an enlightenment and it’s what I like to do.”

KOIN obtained documents from Shroom House from a former employee, including the form the store instructs customers to fill out before a purchase. In it, there’s a waiver to sign, making the customer acknowledge that Shroom House “makes no guarantee or medical claims” and they’re not responsible for anything that happens with the purchase of psilocybin.

The paperwork asks for confirmation of a diagnosis of ailments, ranging from ADHD, anxiety, headaches, depression, OCD, PTSD, sleep disorders and addiction, but employees and customers have said this portion isn’t strictly enforced.

Other documents reveal Shroom Houses’ “sales tactics,” and that they “offer everything from chaga, reishi, lions mane and psilocybin.”

Their business document also says “Shroom House is not like any other psilocybin dispensary. The Shroom House is a mushroom naturopath.”

It proceeds to explain to the employee what different doses to offer people so that can experience “letting loose” or doses that are “good for parties, beach days, and social gatherings.”

Customers were curious to see for themselves.

“I’ve never even seen this stuff before. So I’m trying,” said Scott Yon, a customer at Shroom House. “I understand it may not be legally up yet, but in Portland, it doesn’t seem like people get arrested for anything.”

A former employee had previously revealed to KOIN that he thought the business was operating legally, but soon learned that wasn’t quite the case.

“I was led to believe by management at Shroom House that this was the first, medically licensed and sanctioned place to buy psychedelics in the state of Oregon,” the employee said. “They’re breaking all sorts of laws over there.”

Even though the Oregon Health Authority and police say sales of psilocybin mushrooms are not legal, the long lines seen outside the store show the simple economics of supply and demand.

Portland police and the DEA are aware of the location.

The Portland Police Bureau confirmed that the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit is aware of the allegations against the store. The DEA is also aware of the location.

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