(Photo courtesy of Google)

Despite it being an unlicenced business that sells illegal drugs, the municipality and local law enforcement are currently unable to permanently close down a magic mushroom dispensary that has opened in downtown Chatham.

Fun Guyz, a magic mushroom store chain that operates mainly in Ontario, opened a new location in Chatham last week at 101 King St. W. The store has since been raided twice by members of the Chatham-Kent Police Service Intelligence Unit, resulting in the seizure of over $30,000 worth of the illegal drug psilocybin, which is commonly found in magic mushrooms.

Following each raid, the Chatham store has reopened to the public.

No arrests or charges have been laid at this point.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent has confirmed that the dispensary does not have a business licence, which is only required for certain establishments such as restaurants, tobacco shops, and hotels. As well, municipal officials said there are no bylaws that prevent a business from selling illegal substances within Chatham-Kent.

“If an illegal business is operating in Chatham-Kent, Chatham-Kent police oversee enforcement as it would be a criminal matter,” said Eric Labadie, CK’s manager of corporate communications, in an email to CKXS News. “The municipality does not have jurisdiction over Criminal Code matters, but will certainly work cooperatively with the police towards enforcement.”

Ward 6/Chatham Councillor Michael Bondy said Fun Guyz is currently operating within a “gray area”.

“I think they have found a loophole. We don’t have any tools that are available to us to shut them down,” he said.  “Frankly, if there was a mechanism for the municipality to just go and shut them down, we would have done it because nobody wants this.

“We just have to rely on the police on this one.”

While police officers can seize illegal drugs and arrest those responsible for possessing and trafficking those drugs, they do not have the authority to force businesses like Fun Guyz to close their doors for good.

“We are exploring multiple avenues to find a long-term solution to this establishment,” said Sergeant Jason Herder, a member of the CK police Intelligence Unit.

According to their website, Fun Guyz has 22 other store locations in Ontario and one in Quebec. Several of the stores have also been raided by police, resulting in criminal charges and significant seizures. All of those stores remain open.