In early June, Thomas Hartle, a 52-year-old father of four from Saskatoon, who has been living with terminal cancer since 2016, sent a private video message to Patty Hajdu, Canada’s Minister of Health.
“People like myself are facing very real, very concrete, mental health issues,” he says in the video, which he shared with the National Post. “These are mental health issues and anxieties and depression that we feel could be addressed as easily as the stroke of a pen for you.”
Hartle was referring to an application he had sent to the minister weeks earlier for a Section 56 exemption to the Canadian Drugs and Substances Act. The exemption would allow Hartle to pursue psilocybin therapy for end-of-life distress. Psilocybin is a psychedelic drug derived from magic mushrooms.
This year, Hartle and at least three other Canadians applied for the exemption. Earlier this week, more than 100 days after the first application was sent, they received good news. The exemptions were granted, meaning the four Canadians will soon become the first in the country to legally consume psilocybin since it was made illegal in 1974.