More than $1 million worth of illegal mushrooms was discovered and seized by the Berkeley Police Department officers Saturday. The massive amount of “shrooms” weighed in at 677 pounds and was allegedly being harbored in the home of a Berkeley couple.
Police were called to the home because of an alleged domestic disturbance and the couple initially refused to let officers into the house, according to a statement released Monday by BPD. After getting the couple to cooperate, the two were detained and police began to investigate their home, where the surplus of shrooms was ultimately discovered.
In addition to the shrooms, more than $3,000 in cash was also discovered, indicating the “large scale and scope of the sales operations,” BPD alleged in its statement.
BPD spokesperson Officer Byron White said officers stumbled upon shrooms “in various stages of cultivation,” as well as storage and distribution materials.
BPD also said in its statement that it takes “great pride in ridding the community of dangerous narcotics.” But Jennifer Mitchell, adjunct assistant professor of neurology at UC San Francisco, said the usage of certain psychedelic mushrooms may be harmless and even beneficial in healthy doses.
According to Mitchell, shrooms are currently under investigation as therapeutics for treatment-resistant depression and end-of-life anxiety and depression.
“I’d say that under the right conditions, they can certainly be ingested safely,” Mitchell said in an email.
The effects of shrooms is said to be “similar in mechanism to other hallucinogens” and are comparable to effects of drugs like LSD, according to Hillel Adesnik, a campus assistant professor of neurobiology.
With regard to how addictive shrooms may become to a consumer, Mitchell said that like most hallucinogens, they are unlikely to lead to addiction and are seldom lethal.
The couple, who were arrested and booked into the Alameda County Jail after the shrooms were discovered, now face narcotics-related charges, according to the statement from BPD.