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Psychedelic mushrooms grow off radar

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  1. chillinwill
    When Waynesboro police were tipped Wednesday to hallucinogenic mushrooms growing in a local apartment, they organized a seizure in a matter of hours and arrested a man who could be sent to prison if convicted of dealing the psychedelic drug.

    But psychedelic mushrooms rarely make their way onto police radar, despite online communities that openly offer tips on growing mushrooms and first-hand accounts of drug use.

    Mushrooms, which include the psilocybin hallucinogen, are most often found along with other drugs, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which rarely targets mushroom growers. Local authorities spoke similarly.

    “If we’ve run across these in the past, it’s been possession cases,” Waynesboro police Sgt. Brian Edwards said Thursday.

    City police Wednesday seized 107 Mason jars, each containing several psychedelic mushrooms, a record haul, from a New Hope Road apartment. Police arrested Felix Christopher Gutierrez, 31, on charges of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of marijuana.

    “Very few people actually complain about the police arresting them,” said Alan Rockefeller, 27, of California, who helps moderate online discussions at Shroomery.org, one of a handful of sites dedicated to discussion of illegal psychedelic mushrooms.

    “It’s a very vibrant community,” Rockefeller said of online forums, where thousands of mushroom users and growers read and write daily about hallucinogens.

    Psychedelic mushrooms can produce intense distortions of reality, emotional disturbances and muscle relaxation, according to the National Institutes of Health and DEA. Effects can last for hours.

    Hallucinogens are relatively “non-toxic,” according to a 2008 Johns Hopkins University research paper. That paper reports that studies into the effects of hallucinogens have been recently revived as scientists consider the drugs for treatment of psychiatric disorders and as aids in learning about perception and cognition.

    Hallucinogens ... have not been shown to result in organ damage or neuropsychological deficits,” and are not considered drugs of dependence, the paper states.

    The most likely risk is an anxiety-ridden “bad trip,” according to the paper, most commonly found in users who have pre-existing mental illness.

    Yet mushroom possession and distribution is a felony, which many users consider out of touch with reality, Rockfeller said.

    The Shroomery moderator said some mushrooms can be dangerous, especially those found in the wild and consumed. But online forums can reduce harm to otherwise unknowing users, he said. Rockefeller spends much of his online time helping others identify wild mushrooms.

    “It’s definitely easier and simpler to grow them yourself,” he said.

    Despite the relatively low risk associated with hallucinogen use, Johns Hopkins researchers recommend “appropriate and conservative safeguards” in any studies using hallucinogens.

    Mushrooms are illegal in all states, but the spores used to grow them are legal to own in 47 states.

    The Gutierrez case represents perhaps the only “significant” hallucinogen bust in city history, police said after reviewing arrest records.

    Gutierrez is being held at Middle River Regional Jail and awaits a July 27 preliminary hearing.

    Police found no sales records in the man’s apartment and could not estimate street value of the mushrooms.

    Rockefeller said the value “probably wouldn’t pay the rent.”

    By Tony Gonzalez
    July 3, 2009
    News Virginian
    http://www.newsvirginian.com/wnv/news/local/article/psychedelic_mushrooms_grow_off_radar/42426/

Comments

  1. UberDouche
    "Mushrooms, which include the psilocybin hallucinogen, are most often found along with other drugs, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, which rarely targets mushroom growers. Local authorities spoke similarly."

    That's mildly comforting to know. I'll bet PF wishes they felt that way a few years back.
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    Swims turtle found this a suprisingly well written article. In the US at least personal cultivation indeed seems to fly under the radar. But swims turtle can attest that commercial cultivation certainly does not, at least not in the NW hotbeds...

    EDIT:
    @ uberdouche PF got nailed because of the large number of complaints of both parents who received a pkg at their house and folks who had the pkgs sent to their house by some idiot kid getting it sent to their neighbor :mad:
    but theres also the karma aspect- he represented his product as being at a much higher commercial grade then the reality. They were cool folks providing a good service, but greed and ego won in the end.
  3. UberDouche
    Indeed, the greed won.
  4. Phungushead
    Accused mushroom dealer indicted

    A Waynesboro grand jury Monday indicted a Waynesboro man on drug charges stemming from a raid in which police say they found 107 Mason jars of psychedelic mushrooms.

    Felix Christopher Gutierrez, 31, faces a single felony charge of possession of a Schedule I controlled substance with intent to distribute. He is free on bond awaiting a plea hearing Nov. 18 in Waynesboro Circuit Court.

    Waynesboro police called the bust at Gutierrez’s apartment in the 1700 block of New Hope Road the largest seizure of psychedelic mushrooms in city history.

    Psychedelic mushrooms are a known hallucinogenic that can produce intense distortions of reality, causing users to see images, hear sounds and feel sensations that seem real but are not, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    The drug rarely makes its way onto police radar, despite online communities that openly offer tips on growing mushrooms and first-hand accounts of drug use. Mushrooms are illegal in all states, but the spores used to grow them are legal in 47 states.

    The grand jury also indicted:

    n Kenneth Marsella Reynolds, 42, on charges of robbery, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony and marijuana possession.

    The Waynesboro man was arrested in July after an armed robbery at the Shell gas station at 301 E. Broad St. Waynesboro police said that at 3:30 a.m. Reynolds walked inside the station, also known as the Stop In, and said he had a gun, then demanded money. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

    Reynolds remains in custody at Middle River Regional Jail in Verona.

    n Matias Murrillo Lincoln, 44, on charges of transporting cocaine into Virginia and possession with intent to manufacture cocaine.

    The Fort Worth, Texas, man was caught with a woman May 21 at Comfort Inn near Interstate 64 in Waynesboro with a suitcase containing more than eight ounces of powder cocaine, authorities said.

    Transportation of more than 1 ounce of cocaine into Virginia carries a mandatory three-year minimum sentence.

    The JADE Task Force, which includes officers from Charlottesville and Albemarle County, set up a sting to catch Lincoln and Yvonne Gutierrez, 27, after receiving a tip from an informant.

    Both remain in custody. Gutierrez awaits sentencing and Lincoln is scheduled for a Sept. 23 plea hearing.


    September 15, 2009

    Tony Gonzalez
    News Virginian
    http://www2.newsvirginian.com/wnv/n...ticle/accused_mushroom_dealer_indicted/45363/
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