Kelowna mushroom store owner speaks out after RCMP raid, seizure

Danielle Vaughan and Benny Dornan are teaching Kelowna all about the benefits of mushrooms at their shop Essence Wellness. (Brittany Webster/Capital News)

A business in Kelowna that sells “alternative medicine therapies,” including psilocybin, has confirmed it was raided by police on Nov. 24.

“Of course we knew the risks when opening the store,” said Danielle Vaughan, owner of Essence Wellness in a statement to Kelowna Capital News following the police raid.

“But it’s extremely disappointing to see.”

The small downtown Kelowna shop has been in open to the public and selling products containing psilocybin for the past five months.

Vaughan said the raid and seizure has left the employees and patrons of the shop “in dismay.”

The warrant was executed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, said Kelowna RCMP Const. Mike Della-Paolera.

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Essence Wellness is currently closed as a the police investigation is ongoing.

The RCMP indicated no further information on the investigation will be released at this time.

Earlier in November, the Vancouver Police Department executed search warrants at three mushroom stores in the coastal city as part of an investigation into the sale of illegal psychedelic drugs and seized “a variety of controlled substances.”

Psilocybin is currently considered an illicit drug in Canada and it is illegal to grow and to sell.

The Vancouver shops have since reopened.

“We are not afraid to disrupt a system (the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) that currently does not support a collaborative approach in addressing concerns for individuals that have recently found a lifeline in our products and support services,” Vaughan said.

Vaughan said people rely on the products sold at Essence Wellness for a variety of reasons, including mental health purposes, adding it’s important the community has access to safe and regulated psilocybin products.

She said at Essence Wellness they work to educate the public and destigmatize the use of psilocybin.

She is hopeful that through open dialogue and collaboration, a solution can be reached that emphasizes both public safety as well as the well-being of individuals who are seeking alternative therapeutic options.

Essence Wellness expects to be reopening in the coming days.

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