No real surprise here, i suppose!
Psilocybin - epetition reply
8 January 2008
We received a petition asking:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Re Evaluate the new legislation on psilocybin and psilocin containing mushrooms."
Details of Petition:
"On April the 7th 2005, the Drugs Act 2005 was passed, which banned the sale of fresh, psilocybin containing mushrooms. As of July 18th 2005, it was passed that Psilocybin and Psilocin containing mushrooms or spores are to be treated as a Class A drug, along side Heroin, Cocaine, LSD, Crack and other such "hard" drugs. When looking at the chemical structure of the active ingredients in these mostly harmless mushrooms, one should compare the indole tryptamine derivatives. Psilocin, Psilocybin, Baeocystin and Dimethyltryptamine (all hallucinogenic ingredients, some present in mushrooms) all have remarkably similar chemical structures to those of tryptophan, serotonin, tryptamine and indole, all of which are naturally occurring in the human body. Prior to the law, data was misinterpreted and the sale of these harmless mushrooms was abundant. Now, the more dangerous ibotenic acid, muscimol, muscazone and muscarine containing "Fly Agaric" is now prolific amongst recreational drug users."
The Government considers that the current control of psilocybe mushrooms is a proportionate step towards protecting public health. There are no current plans to amend the law.
The commercial sale of mind-altering substances raises concerns regarding public health which the Government is fully entitled to address and upon which it is prepared to act. This was the case with mushrooms containing psilocin and psilocybin (commonly known as 'magic mushrooms'), which are hallucinogenic. Since 2003, there had been a considerable increase in the number of outlets selling imported magic mushrooms.
It is also fundamental to our drug laws that they are clear and unambiguous, for the benefit of the public, the enforcement agencies and the judiciary. The Government clarified the legislation in 2005 so that all fungi containing psilocin or psilocybin (an ester of psilocin) are controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 whatever form they are in. Psilocin was already an illicit Class A controlled drug as were magic mushrooms when they were prepared or in the form of a product. Now all magic mushrooms, including fresh magic mushrooms, are also Class A drugs.
Those who oppose this change in the law often refer to the relatively low health risks associated with magic mushroom use compared with other controlled drugs. However, magic mushrooms are a powerful hallucinogen and can cause real harm, especially to vulnerable people, including those vulnerable to self harm whilst under the influence, those with heart conditions and those with mental health problems.
The risk posed to persons by the use of psilocin and psilocybin has been clearly established for many years and was reflected in the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Act from the outset. Psilocin and psilocybin (and many similar drugs) were included in Schedule 1 to the 1971 Convention, reflecting international consensus that these substances are dangerous and should be subject to the highest level of control. They were placed in the 1971 Act as Class A drugs.
Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the supply of magic mushrooms as a preparation or product was already a Class A drug offence before the change in the law. Health risks of psilocin and psilocybin are the same whether or not these substances are contained in a preparation or a product. However, it is a matter of legal interpretation what constitutes a preparation or a product. The law was not sufficiently clear on whether fresh magic mushrooms were covered under the 1971 Act, which made it difficult to secure prosecutions.
Under section 21 of the Drugs Act, it is now clear that it is an offence to import, export, produce, supply and possess with intent to supply magic mushrooms, whatever form they are in, whether prepared or fresh.
The Government does not have any current plans to bring fly agaric mushrooms under the controls of the Misuse of Drugs Act. It is aware that some of the outlets that previously sold magic mushrooms have now opted to sell the fly agaric, albeit on a significantly reduced scale because the mushroom's toxicity acts as a considerable deterrent to both experimentation and regular use. The Government sees no prospect of the fly agaric mushroom gaining in popularity to the extent that it would pose a significant social and public health problem and therefore present a compelling case for addition to the list of controlled drugs. The mushrooms are poisonous and should not be taken. They are subject to food safety legislation and it is an offence under this legislation to sell food that is unsafe.
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