Dutch ban on "magic" mushrooms to take effect on December 1st

By Alfa · Nov 29, 2008 · ·
  1. Alfa
    Dutch ban on "magic" mushrooms to take effect

    AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The Netherlands will ban the sale and cultivation of all hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms from next week, the latest target of a country seeking to shed its "anything goes" image.

    The Dutch government proposed the ban in April, citing the dangerous behavioural effects of magic mushrooms following the death of a French teenager who jumped from an Amsterdam bridge in 2007 after consuming the hallucinogenic fungus.

    "The use of magic mushrooms has hallucinogenic effects. It is proven that this can lead to unpredictable and therefore risky behaviour," the Dutch Health Ministry said in a statement.

    A challenge to the ban was rejected by a court in the Hague on Friday. From December 1 the production or sale of fresh magic mushrooms could lead to a maximum jail sentence of four years, a spokesman for the Dutch Justice Ministry said on Friday.

    "We are targeting the growers and the shops who are selling the mushrooms," the spokesman said.

    The active ingredient in magic mushrooms is psilocybin. Effects last up to about six hours and can include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness and drowsiness in the early stages after consumption.

    The psychological consequences of psilocybin use include hallucinations and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose, according to the U.S. Justice Dept's National Drug Intelligence Centre.

    Some proponents of magic mushrooms say that their use aids in spiritual awareness, gaining personal insight and meditation.

    Selling dried magic mushrooms is already illegal in the Netherlands and carries a maximum jail sentence of eight years, the justice ministry spokesman said, but from next week a new ban will apply to fresh mushrooms which have been previously sold in so-called "smart shops."

    Staff in the stores, which stock mushrooms or "paddos" ranging from Thai to Hawaiian varieties for about 15 euros (about $20) a pack, said the ban will put users at greater risk.

    "People will just go picking in the forest, and that can be dangerous. Or they will go to street dealers, and get mixed up with hard drugs," said David Henriks from the Tatanka shop.

    Posters in shops outlined the effects of different types of mushrooms, such as strong visual experiences or feelings described as "body highs." They also suggested dos and don'ts of consumption, and rated the mushrooms for their intensity.

    "It's always safer to have the information before taking drugs," said Roy Williams of the Innerspace shop, adding that in the past few weeks people had increasingly been buying "grow your own" mushroom kits in the lead-up to the ban.

    The Dutch association of smart shops (VLOS) had tried to reassure authorities by promising tighter self-regulation and noted that most mushroom-related incidents involved young tourists mixing mushrooms with alcohol and cannabis.

    On Friday the VLOS said it was highly disappointed with the court's decision to reject the challenge to the ban.

    "Under this government we have had a whole series of bans, and people have had enough of this," said Paul van Oyen from the VLOS, adding that he would advise the board of the association to launch an appeal.

    He said some of the 180 or so smart shops in the Netherlands would likely have to close because of falling turnover, and he expected to see a huge discount sale over the weekend as shops tried to get rid of supplies.

    Figures from the Amsterdam emergency services show there were 55 call-outs for mushroom-related incidents in 2004, a figure which had more than doubled by 2006 to 128, with the majority of youngsters involved coming from Britain.

    In recent years the Netherlands has dropped some previously tolerant policies and has tightened laws on drug use and prostitution.

    Several brothels and sex clubs were shut down in 2008, city councils are planning to close marijuana-selling coffee shops near schools, while tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption in coffee shops have also been forbidden.

    By Catherine Hornby Catherine Hornby – Fri Nov 28, 12:06 pm ET
    (Additional reporting by Svebor Kranjc, editing by Paul Casciato)


    Share This Article


  1. dyingtomorrow
    This is very sad to read. Smart people trapped in conservative countries all around the world look up to the Netherlands as many decades ahead of the rest, and as the hopeful future model of the planet. Seeing them regress, over the incredibly stupid fact that 1 person died (compared to countless alcohol deaths in the same period), is just heartbreaking.
  2. Richard_smoker
    yeah, but the worst part about it ISN'T the fact that this whole issue ever BECAME an issue. The worst part is that the Dutch Parliament originally agreed to hear the other side, and consider other specific countermeasures--like mandatory warning labels, restricting sales, actually requiring a giant "WARNING. IN THE PAST, THERE HAVE BEEN VERY FEW REPORTS THAT PEOPLE HAVE EXPERIENCED SUICIDAL THOUGHTS/IDEATIONS. IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY FEELINGS SIMILAR TO THESE, OR IF YOU FIND THAT SOMETHING IS SUDDENLY ABNORMAL OR WRONG WITH YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT LIFE, DEATH, RIGHT, AND WRONG. then 1st try to go thru the enclosed booklet designed to 'talk you down' because 99% chance is that you're feeling a very normal, psychodelic, disconnected sensation that you're SUPPOSED to feel."

    2nd FOLDOUT:
    this should be presented VERY tactfully.

    • if it appears too scary, the wigging-out user will slam it shut.
    • Perhaps it should describe some VERY BASIC pictures of neurotransmitters going to brain/nerve cells, explaining what to expect from taking a magic mushroom.
    • BUT ON THE VERY 1st PAGE---you MUST have a free local telephone number to call...this could be a counselor, a pastor, a psychiatrist, or psychologist, or whoever else. These calls will likely fall into 2 categories.

    1. pranks, hangup.
    2. people who are alone or losing their shit and simply need somone--a friendly, nonjudmental voice to console them, and based upon the information given up in the talk, if dr thinks he needs to be further treated with something sedating/antipsyotic, then either the dr can come to HIM or HE can take a taxi to the doctor.
    There. problem solved. from a medico-legal-responsibility position, this will effectively place your "DANGEROUS" drug into better control. Not only that, but it might also set another precidence for other potentially harmful compounds sold.
  3. bman1
    Another sad day has come. Swib wonders how this will affect counties were spores are legal, but illegal to grow mushrooms
  4. Heretic.Ape.

    *commences weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth "the end is nigh!"
  5. Annasolveig
    So true. What about this alcohol denial? People get raped, rape, kill, get killed, beat up, get beaten up, have all kinds of accidents, get into a blackout etc. etc., because of alcohol. And it is always legal!!! does this have anything to do with the major liquor companies??:mad:
  6. Raz
    Not a good argument but I can understand the anger.

    Nice one DICK.

    Where there any enormous discounts this weekend ?
To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!