An illegal magic mushroom store in Portland attracted so many punters last week they were forced to line up around the block.
The upmarket mushroom shop, called Shroom House, appeared in the city even though selling products containing psilocybin – the hallucinogenic ingredient in magic mushrooms – remains illegal in Oregon.
The store seems official and has a large sign attached to its façade depicting a mushroom that also looks like a house. The same distinctive logo is plastered on its glass windows.
In November 2020 Oregon passed Measure 109 – a bill that would legalize the controlled therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms. However, that bill does not legalize their sale.
When challenged about the legality of the business, the store owner told local news channel KOIN ‘they’re not a dispensary, they’re a health and wellness shop.’
Last Friday Shroom House had customers lining up around the block to purchase psychedelic products
The store seems official and has a sign attached to its façade depicting a mushroom that also looks like a house
The Oregon Health Authority confirmed to KOIN that there are currently no licensed mushroom dispensaries in the state. However, Oregon will start accepting applications for permits to sell psilocybin products from January 2, 2023.
One recent employee of the store who has now quit reached out to the new network to say that when he was hired managers suggested the operation was legal.
‘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,’ previous employee Kace Colwell said.
‘They’re breaking all sorts of laws over there.’
In 2020 Oregon passed Measure 109 that legalizes controlled use of mushrooms but does not permit their retail sell. A line formed on Friday that wrapped around the block
One customer who found out about the store and had since visited in twice was in disbelief that it existed.
Reshawn Davis, who bought magic mushrooms that Shroom House called ‘Hillbilly,’ said: ‘When I heard about this place, I thought I was trippin’ or something.’
‘And I knew this stuff had to be real. Once I checked the reviews to see if it’s a real shop. Someone said first shroom dispensary in Oregon.’
Colwell, who initially also thought the store was legitimate, said: ‘They’re straight up just lying to people about the most basic facts about their store.’
‘I don’t know what else they’re willing to lie about,’ he added.
Portland Police Bureau confirmed that the Narcotics and Organized Crime Unit is aware of allegations that the store is illegally selling psilocybin.
Local authorities told KOIN that they’re aware of the illegal operation and that its on their radar
Reshawn Davis, who initially thought he was tripping when he heard of the first mushroom dispensary in Oregon, purchased 3.5 grams of a mushroom the store named ‘Hillbilly’
Jesus Bogas, who was in the long line outside of Shroom House, was clear that he wanted to buy mushrooms for recreational purposes.
‘Well, I voted for psilocybin mushrooms in the election in 2020. And so I’m here to take part in that,’ said Bogas.
Measure 109, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, was voted on by individuals across the state and approved with nearly 56 percent of the votes.
‘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.’
The opening of Shroom House comes amid an exodus from the city of small businesses that take issue with its rising crime levels.
Just last week in Portland a retail store for the popular clothing brand Rains was forced to shut after being broken in to 15 times over the course of just two months.
The store’s owner Marcy Landolfo put up a notice on its window explaining her decision to close the store.
‘We have no protection, or recourse, against the criminal behavior that goes unpunished. Do not be fooled into thinking that insurance companies cover losses. We have sustained 15 break-ins… we have not received any financial reimbursement since the 3rd,’ she wrote.
When the store was broken into in October, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler promised the city was going to come up with a plan to help out business owners who had been targeted and needed assistance to repair their shops.
‘Paying for glass that’s great, but that is so surface and does nothing for the root cause of the problem, so it’s never going to change,’ Landolfo said.
Portland currently has more than 700 homeless encampments across the city within less than 150 square miles
In recent years Portland has also experienced a surging murder rate. Last year 90 homicides were recorded in the city, shattering the previous record of 66
A Portland, Oregon, clothing shop permanently shut down last month after facing 15 break-ins that has left it in financial struggles
Rising crime and homeless camps that have spread from downtown and into the suburbs are pushing out businesses and residents
In recent years Portland has also experienced a surging murder rate. Last year 90 homicides were recorded in the city, shattering the previous record of 66 which was set more than three decades ago.
Last Wednesday the city recorded its 93rd homicide of the year, breaking its all-time annual record with a full month of the year remaining.
The city currently has more than 700 homeless encampments within an area of less than 150 square miles.
Wheeler recently said he would ban the unsanctioned homeless camps in the city, which have created a ‘vortex of misery.’
Rains wasn’t the only business that felt pressure to pull out of Portland. A few days prior famed ice cream shop Salt & Straw threatened to move its headquarters out of the state altogether.
Kim Malek, who founded the company in Portland with her cousin Tyler Malek, told Oregon Live that she doesn’t want to move but that she didn’t feel as though her employees were safe.
‘We would consider all options,’ she said.
Salt & Straw was created to be a community gathering place, according to its website , but co-founder Kim Malek said Wednesday that if things don’t change, they’d be forced to leave
Ice Cream business Salt & Straw has threatened to move its Portland headquarters out of Oregon as crime, drug use and homelessness continue to plague the Democratic city
‘We don’t have concrete plans. But our intention is to be at the table working with the city and county to find a solution and not move. Portland is part of the soul of our company. We love this city. This is about having a safe place for our team to work.’
Residents and business owners have been saying for months that escalating crime and homelessness is affecting their way of life and safety.
‘Our intention is to work through this,’ Malek said. ‘I cannot stay here if we don’t.’
The ice cream shop started in Portland, but now has shops all over the United States including in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Miami and even in Disney.