One lb bags of magic mushroom are piled on the polished concrete floor. Jars sit on an unmoving conveyer belt. Josh (not his real name) sits in front of packaging, flattened boxes of it, shiny white with little reflective metallic logos. Josh is on the phone, wheeling and dealing, you might say. He’s either talking with a state licensing agency of some kind, getting his paperwork in order for the next round of legalization prep, or he’s making a deal to have pounds of federally illegal Class 1 drugs shipped cross-country where they can be resold (also illegally) to what are most likely a bunch of very decent human beings doing things deemed criminal in order to trip their balls off.
By the fact Josh is speaking in complete sentences, I can tell he’s talking to someone who works in an office somewhere, so it must be the government man.
“The new labels will be in in a week!” he says as he hangs up the phone.
This means that product will hit store shelves at the start of next month. His long journey to get products legally on the market is over. Now he’s legit. Right?
Well…not exactly. The legal storefront is a comparatively limited market at this point. The fees and taxes are substantial, not to mention the cost of just putting his staff on payroll and paying taxes, unemployment, insurance. He also needs to bring this facility up to state inspection standards, as he’s no longer allowed to work out of his apartment, where he’d been operating underground for years. Considering the profits he makes by selling to the illegal and decriminalized market, it’s actually in Josh’s best interests for legalization to happen as slowly as possible—if it happens at all.
But that’s not remarkable. Bootleggers have been walking the tightrope of illegitimate and regulated manufacturing/distributing since before it was called ‘bootlegging.’ What is remarkable, however, is the inventory—the quality, the selection, even the packaging—that sits in the jars behind Josh. They are mushroom edibles, made from a pure extract for reliable and effective dosing. It’s a true health product, crafted from real fruit puree and natural ingredients. The cannabis edibles are made with the cannabis extract added into the batter from scratch, to keep the indica or sativa effects.
Josh founded his company in 2018.
He remains on the vanguard of edible companies, mushroom edibles in particular. However, competition came quickly and continues to grow. There are now dozens of high-end magic mushroom edible companies pushing for legal licenses to sell their products in every emerging market. Josh even has talked about taking on investors. He pays a research scientist, even multiple scientists, on each product they bring to market.
“Bring to market” now means introduce to the world via website while undergoing the protracted process of meeting regulations. In the meantime, Josh keeps the company afloat by secretly “backdooring” product to the black market in those US states where the substances are still illegal, or the ‘grey’ market where the substances have been decriminalized though not yet regulated for sale.
That’s the situation—not just nationwide, but worldwide. The end result will be a “golden era” for the cannabis and mushroom enthusiasts who are now able to enjoy without being criminals and without having the pursuit tainted by greed and investor-driven corporations.
But how long will the golden area last? What future does Josh see for his company and himself?
When I ask Josh this question, he says, “Get big enough to get bought out by a big corporation, and then retire.”
Is he fucking kidding? Retire and do what? Smoke weed and take mushrooms and do nothing?
“No,” he says. “I just have to do so much legal paperwork and regulatory stuff now. The fun of it is gone. It’s made this into a job I dream about retiring from now. I never thought I’d say that, but I would sell it just to quit, if it’s enough money.”