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  1. Alfa
    JAIL THREAT OVER MAGIC MUSHROOMS

    Traders selling magic mushrooms could be jailed despite the fact it is
    legal to sell them in their natural state, the Home Office says.

    It is only illegal to possess or supply magic mushrooms that have been
    "processed", such as frozen or dried.

    Numerous online and high street traders have begun operating in recent
    months.

    But the Home Office has looked at the law and now believes "if fresh
    magic mushrooms are packaged as a product and are offered for sale
    that is unlawful".

    A Home Office spokesman said: "It is an operational matter for the
    police whether or not to initiate a prosecution. If they decide to do
    so, it would then be a matter for the courts to determine whether any
    misuse of drugs offence has been committed".

    Life sentence

    Magic mushrooms contain the substances psilocin and psilocybin, and
    these are controlled as a Class A drugs in "processed" mushrooms.

    People convicted of supplying them could be jailed for life and face
    an unlimited fine. A possession conviction could earn seven years in
    jail and a fine.

    National Drug Prevention Alliance director Peter Stoker said that
    eliminating magic mushroom trading would be "a move in the right direction".

    "We need to look at [magic mushrooms] in the same way as other drugs
    of abuse," he said.

    "With any kind of intoxication you have got risks of accident either
    to the person involved or to other people and that has got to be a
    health and safety issue.

    "But the main thing is that it is the thin end of the drug abuse
    wedge. It preconditions people to getting their highs and kicks in
    life by putting toxic chemicals inside themselves."

    'Draconian'

    But Chris Territt, business manager of magic mushroom retailer Psyche
    Deli, said: "Whilst the government is moving to relax the laws on
    cannabis in order to free up police time, this seems to be a
    contradictory move.

    "We would obviously welcome regulation or licensing to bring the
    industry up to recognised standards, but a total ban would be
    incredibly draconian.

    "We do not sell to under-18s and we give all our customers all the
    advice they need to enjoy mushrooms in a responsible way."

    He added that Psyche Deli had received a ruling from Customs and
    Excise saying that the sale of fresh psilocybe mushrooms was liable
    for VAT.

    "If the government is taking 17.5% of every transaction we make, how
    can they say our product is not legal?"

    MAGIC MUSHROOMS

    Most common form is Liberty cap (Psilocybe semilanceata) Can be eaten
    raw, dried, cooked in food or stewed in tea Similar effects to LSD,
    though shorter, milder "trip" Not addictive Can make people feel sick,
    tired and disoriented

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