magic mushrooms Archives - Green Market Report

Dave HodesJuly 12, 2022
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10min1911

So much good news from trusted sources about psychedelics today has really made the topic part of the zeitgeist of a world looking for help, as we all struggle to deal with many mental health and wellness issues within the context of a worldwide pandemic showing new signs of continuing.

Psychedelics can adjust mood, enlighten thinking, and treat untreatable mental illness, according to most media reporting. Some psychedelics, like MDMA, also known as the club drug ecstasy, and “magic” mushrooms, have been powering the party scene for years

Now the word is that these psychedelics are more than just party drugs, and are being studied as good medicine, taking a long run through clinical trials. 

A party drug being used to treat depression sounds wrong to most people. But depending on how bad their depression is, most people with depression are willing to give it a try—right now. When suffering from depression or PTSD or any of the growing list of ailments that researchers are able to successfully treat with psychedelics, why wait for FDA approval that won’t happen until years of clinical trials are completed, which will finally allow a psychedelics-derived drug that your doctor can legally prescribe? 

If more and more highly qualified researchers and world-famous academic institutions are saying psychedelics are good for you, why wait for them to provide the kind of medical data that is needed to prove it as both effective and safe? It’s been a (relatively) safe party drug for years. What’s the holdup?

The reality is that it doesn’t take long to find psychedelics on the black market: LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin mushrooms are generally available from the same sources where you get your black market cannabis. Plus, psilocybin mushrooms can be easily grown at home with some home grow kits for under $100. 

“Magic” mushrooms are being discussed as a sort of cannabis-plus experience—easy to grow, fun to consume, a great party favor for all, safe, cool, available. Yet all that hype built on the desire to find another level of party buzz spells danger.

About 147 million people, or 2.5% of the world population, consume cannabis, a natural psychoactive plant. But psychedelics can powerfully alter perception, mood, and a host of cognitive processes in a much more profound way than cannabis does. Your first experience after ingesting a “magic” mushroom could be traumatic, even psychotic if you happen to have other psychological issues.

But hey, why not do a few grams of a psilocybin mushroom and experience that “magic” transformation? No worse than getting drunk, right?

One study concluded that a significant number of Americans are already “self-medicating” with psilocybin mushrooms. “As growing positive media coverage of psychedelics drives public interest in the health benefits of psilocybin mushrooms, this number will increase,” the study found.

Part of the perception about psilocybin as just another party substance is that a number of cities and states in the U.S. have decriminalized psychedelics (usually just psilocybin). But this wave of psychedelic decriminalization is not being accompanied by evidence-based regulation, according to the study.

Some industry observers believe that there’s a generational shift underway from recreational cannabis (legal in 19 states plus D.C.) to recreational psilocybin mushrooms (still illegal everywhere in the U.S.) as a sort of bonus buzz, popularizing them as never before.

And the marketing confusion instigated by both old and start-up mushroom product developers leads some to believe that psilocybin mushrooms are safe… good to dump in your morning coffee… OK to take before bedtime. 

But wait a minute: Those mushroom products crowding shelves in your local grocery stores are not psychoactive mushrooms, but instead just a marketing gimmick playing on what is reported to be the effects of psilocybin. 

You may be getting a buzz of some sort, but you are not tripping, even if the packaging and marketing still lead you to believe that is what is happening with these mushroom products.

Then there is the often misleading legalization of psilocybin. Recreational psilocybin (or adult use) as it’s being developed in Oregon and (probably soon) in Colorado, is not really recreational at all. It’s a medicine, used with therapy, in a controlled setting. 

Fun-looking packages of measured doses of psilocybin mushrooms will not be coming to the U.S. (though there are psilocybin truffle microdose products from The Netherlands) any time in the near future.

But right now, with all the talk about psilocybin, all the reports, the TV shows, and the celebrities talking about their experiences with psilocybin and other psychedelics, few people are following academic studies that reinforce the narrative that psilocybin, for instance, is a powerful mental health therapeutic. 

They just want to get a magical high, and get giggly, and get funny-spacey, like they see people on TV do. 

The dangers of taking “magic” mushrooms, not knowing how it will affect your mind, are real. This is not cannabis-plus. And ‘shrooming isn’t for everyone, no matter what anecdotal stories you hear. With any psychedelic, you are literally messing with important brain chemistry in a novel but very serious way. Choose your recreational buzz wisely.


Debra BorchardtJuly 11, 2022
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5min2451

William McKenna, the former Finance Director for Los Angeles-based cannabis company THC Designs filed a lawsuit against the company on July 6, 2022. McKenna claims he was fired for refusing to defraud investors and tax authorities went the company’s owner Ryan Jennemann asked him to doctor the financials. He claims he was asked to reduce the liabilities so that the company could borrow more money. McKenna also thinks that the company was growing and selling psilocybin mushrooms for cash and not recording those sales.

Cooking the Books

McKenna said he was fired on February 9, 2022, despite having performed his duties and was given no reason for the termination. McKenna also stated in the complaint that the termination was one month before his wedding, which took away some of the wedding joy. The termination also threw him into debt and other hardships as he claims he wasn’t paid all of his wages upon his termination. McKenna’s previous job was as an Accounting Director for SoFi Stadium, home to the LA Rams and LA Chargers sports teams. He was drawn to the offer from THC Designs of $150,000 per year with a monthly performance bonus of $4,167 because he was getting married soon. He began his employment on July 12, 2021.

He says in the complaint that within his first month of employment Jennemann asked him to remove liabilities from a balance sheet that was being prepared for an
investor in an effort to obtain a $15 million loan. “Plaintiff refused to provide the doctored accounting because he reasonably believed removing the liabilities from the balance sheet report would be fraudulent and illegal.” McKenna also alleged that the prior Director of Finance, Dave Eing, was asked to do the same and he also refused. The complaint says, “Ryan Jennemann ultimately had a third-party contractor remove the liabilities from Defendants’ balance sheet in order to obtain the loan.”

Magic Mushrooms

McKenna also alleges in his complaint that the company was growing psilocybin or magic mushrooms and selling the product for cash but wasn’t declaring the income. He says he was expected to declare the operating expenses, but not the income. The complaint states, “Plaintiff’s suspicions were confirmed when Mario Suazo (former Director of Sales) texted Plaintiff that he had magic mushrooms for sale. (Plaintiff did not purchase the mushrooms.) Plaintiff asked Defendants’ third-party accounting manager if she was aware that Defendants were selling magic mushrooms, to which she replied, ‘they are great!'” Internally, the company was describing the product as shitake mushrooms to avoid detection, he claims.

McKenna said that on December 9, 2021, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (“CDTFA”) him asking for vendor invoices for a list of entities, including “Mushroom
Farm.” Jennemann said that he fired his previous Director of Finance Dave Eing for submitting to the CDTFA information that referenced “Mushroom Farm.” This time, Jennemann told Mckenna not to reference “Mushroom Farm” or “Sabina Farms” and instead to reference only “XXX E 32nd St” (the location of the mushroom farm). (THC Designs has asked that the address not be published for the safety of the people at the location.) He says in the complaint he became increasingly concerned that the illegal operation would result in a tax violation and began to communicate his concerns to Jennemann. That only put him on shaky ground with the owner.

Revolving Door

The ex-employee said that THC Designs had gone through three prior Directors of Finance in less than two years and that they all left or were terminated for similar reasons. McKenna is asking for his legal fees to be paid and other damages. The case was filed in the Superior Court for the county of Los Angeles.

 


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