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    Default Dutch ban on "magic" mushrooms to take effect

    Dutch ban on "magic" mushrooms to take effect
    Fri 28 Nov 2008, 17:03 GMT
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    By Catherine Hornby

    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.

    (Additional reporting by Svebor Kranjc, editing by Paul Casciato)

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    This sorta sucks but at the same time doesn't. I've had a couple really bad trips on xoomers...I can see why they'd want to ban them. Now if they ban weed I'll have no reason to go out that way next time I go to Europe...

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    Boo to the end of Amsterdam
    First no smoking, now no shrooms. Weed and hookers are next. Say goodbye to a big chunk of your tourism, sheep.

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    Yeah, thats got to be 90% of their tourism (at least) goes, even just to see it...

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    It makes sense from a logical point of view, given that shrroms are a let less controllable than weed. I don't think they'll actually ban weed... that would just be stupid.

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    Originally posted by Supa Dexta
    Yeah, thats got to be 90% of their tourism (at least) goes, even just to see it...
    Hah... not even close. The country has a lot more to offer than drugs, and that's what they are trying to establish with these laws so people like you don't have this misconception anymore.

    The reason they want to get rid of the "coffee" shops as well is they are all run by organized crime.

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    I am completely against this! I was in Amsterdam last year, and it was the time of my life. Personally, the coffee shops and "special" shops (mushrooms) were a huge part of the good time. The city itself is so beautiful, there is so much to see AND do... I am planning another trip at the end of my next semester. Its a pity I won't be able to go on a trip and walk through the red light district again...omfg what a good time.

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    What are you talking about. There are drug dealers all over the Red Light District constantly saying "you want some coke?" under their breath. Now all that is going to change is they'll say "You want some coke or shrooms?"

    Nothing will change.
    Originally posted by rage2
    #1: don't ever question me.

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    Originally posted by arian_ma
    What are you talking about. There are drug dealers all over the Red Light District constantly saying "you want some coke?" under their breath. Now all that is going to change is they'll say "You want some coke or shrooms?"

    Nothing will change.
    You need to see the bigger picture when you start making criminals out of previously free and innocent individuals. What will change is that there will be more people working in prison sweat shops. (mission accomplished)

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    Having them readily available isn't the issue, otherwise everyone would just smoke weed and do shrooms at home. The difference is, prior to the law, you could do them in a controlled environment, where you can decide how potent, what type of high, length of high you want. The experts selling them now give you tips on how not to have a bad trip, and actually enhance your experience. Once its outlawed, there's no difference from buying shrooms here. You just get whatever they give you.

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    I agree that they are more dangerous and unpredictable than weed and to an unexperiened user are very dangerous....I think that is what they are trying to curtail with this ban and it is smart. If they are readily available next to the chocolate bars in the shops (and next to the eggs in the hostel I was staying at), people will think they are no big deal and eat them without thinking of their environment (which is a huge issue on a mushroom trip), possibly leading to unfortunate choices / actions. For someone who has done them before, having a major bad incident on them is much less likely as they know how to control their environment (whereas a stupid curious tourist does not).

    Apparently they are also closing 20% of the coffee shops as well.
    "I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
    -Thomas Jefferson 1802

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    If I lived there, I'd be cool with this for sure.

    Mushrooms are fairly safe. But it IS true that in some cases when they are consumed it really does make the user go a little crazy, and do crazy things. The problem (those of us who have done them should understand) is that you literally cannot see the difference between reality and fantasy sometimes. My trips were all generally good - but I've seen people have real negative trips - which could totally lead to bad things should the rest of us not have been around to control the situation.

    If this is something the Dutch feel they need to do to keep their citizens safe, then so be it.

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    I can't see why someone who does shrooms would support banning them.

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    Last edited by nonlinear; 12-15-2009 at 06:07 PM.

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    Originally posted by bspot


    Hah... not even close. The country has a lot more to offer than drugs, and that's what they are trying to establish with these laws so people like you don't have this misconception anymore.

    The reason they want to get rid of the "coffee" shops as well is they are all run by organized crime.
    I said goes to at least see it. I'm not saying 90% go to get stoned, But I would bet most people go there to see that side of things.

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    I think its pretty safe to say the majority of people who go to the Netherlands are going to Amsterdam to see Amsterdam. While people are there they may venture off and see some windmill cities or some of the other pretty awesome places the Netherlands have to offer, but I'm willing to bet close to 90% of tourists going to the Netherlands are going to Amsterdam for the sex and drugs, if not to partake, even just to see.

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    All because some dumbass tourist decided to jump off a bridge. Makes total sence to punish everybody else
    Member since 2003.

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    Originally posted by Mckenzie
    I agree that they are more dangerous and unpredictable than weed and to an unexperiened user are very dangerous....I think that is what they are trying to curtail with this ban and it is smart. If they are readily available next to the chocolate bars in the shops (and next to the eggs in the hostel I was staying at), people will think they are no big deal and eat them without thinking of their environment (which is a huge issue on a mushroom trip), possibly leading to unfortunate choices / actions. For someone who has done them before, having a major bad incident on them is much less likely as they know how to control their environment (whereas a stupid curious tourist does not).

    Apparently they are also closing 20% of the coffee shops as well.
    x2

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