Last orders for magic mushrooms

Mushrooms become class A drug in UK

Author: Mark Honigsbaum
Date: Jun 25, 2005
Views: 3318

Bad news for psychedelic fungi fans. There are just 24 more shopping
days before magic mushrooms are declared illegal - and that\'s
official.

Ignoring pleas from mushroom retailers and consumers, the government
yesterday announced that clause 21 of the Drugs Act 2005,
reclassifying psilocybe mushrooms as a class A drug alongside heroin
and crack cocaine, will come into force on July 18.

From that date, importation, possession or sale of magic mushrooms
will be punishable by a life sentence, effectively outlawing sales via
market stalls, head shops and the internet.

Laying the statutory instrument before parliament, the Home Office
said the only exception would be for wild mushrooms, growing on
uncultivated land.

Landowners who are unaware they have a controlled substance, or who
pick the mushrooms with the intention of delivering them to the
police, will also be exempted.

Transform, the drug policy group which has been a vocal critic of
clause 21, immediately condemned the Home Office\'s decision, saying
the exemptions did little to clarify what it considered flawed
legislation.

\"How is someone supposed to know what is uncultivated?\" asked
Transform\'s director, Danny Kushnick. \"This has nothing to do with
clarifying the law or goods drugs policy. It\'s simply about shutting
down vendors who have been selling mushrooms.\"

The Entheogen Defence Fund, a group set up to protect the interests of
mushroom retailers and consumers, said the announcement would make no
difference to its campaign to have clause 21 overturned through
judicial review.

Declaring criminalisation of magic mushrooms a retrograde step, it
predicted the reclassification would simply encourage more youngsters
to try ecstasy, LSD, heroin and cocaine.

\"The sale of 100,000 kilos of magic mushrooms per annum has had a big
impact on the reduction of the illegal use of soft and hard drugs,\"
said EDF\'s chairman, Mike Bashall. \"Expect more crime and more deaths
related to illegal drugs.\"

Backed by Dutch wholesalers, for whom the UK has become a lucrative
export market for psychedelic fungi, the EDF has raised £10,000 to
challenge the British legislation. It points out that in the
Netherlands the sale of magic mushrooms is legal and says that clause
21 could be in breach of European Union law making it illegal to place
restrictions on free trade except in specific circumstances, such as
for the protection of health and life.

Caroline Flint, the Home Office minister, who spearheaded the
legislation through parliament shortly before the general election,
said mushrooms could trigger psychosis and there was evidence users
could be at risk of self-harm.

However, a Dutch study found no evidence to link magic mushrooms with
psychosis and said that mushrooms did not lower users\' violence
threshold.

Since consumption usually took place at home or in the open air,
\"there is no inconvenience to other people,\" it concluded.

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