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MAGIC MUSHROOMS - Magic Mushrooms now: the Law
6. Magic Mushrooms now: the Law
In ancient Greece each year, hundreds of people, sometimes thousands, participated in the rituals of the Elysian Mystery-school, but in most cultures the use of these substances remained restricted to an elite and was often a secret ritual for a small group of initiates. This has changed now. You can buy magic mushrooms in many places, you can grow or pick them yourself, and there are also many other psychedelics like LSD, DMT etc. (by the way XTC is not really a psychedelic substance but an entheogen).
Magic mushrooms are clearly in fashion. It is estimated that nowadays about 10-15% of the high-school kids (12-18) in Holland have used mushrooms, often in the ambiance of discos and house parties. This use is usually limited to a fairly mild portion, with effects similar to a good joint. The kids are a bit careful as they know that taking more will make them trip. Older users will go for the full psychedelic experience; the danger lies in first time users who do not expect the strong effects.
The effects of psilocybin and psilocin are well known for a long time and they are listed as prohibited (classified) substances. But because mushrooms themselves are not chemical and neither animals nor plants, they are not well defined in legal terms. One gets the feeling that the authorities don't really know what to do. The effect on national health doesn't seem to be a great worry, but we notice (as with marihuana) that the Dutch Government is very sensitive to what other countries want and need. In most countries the legislation around drugs, and in particular of alternative/natural drugs, is at least unclear and shifting. The different national laws operate in a gray area with on the one hand the U.N. Convention of Psychotropic Substances which declares psilocybin and psilocin illegal and on the other hand the fact that these mushrooms grow freely in nature and can consequently not be prohibited.
The Dutch attitude about legal or illegal possession, growing and selling of magic mushrooms is unclear and a bit confusing at the moment. Points of discussion are:
- Possession of fresh and dried mushrooms
- Possession of mushroom spores
- Sales of fresh and dried mushrooms
- Sales of products that contain mushrooms
- Sales of mushroom spores
- Sales of growkits
- Growing of mycelium
- Growing of mushrooms
We will have to see how this all will work out! Hopefully the legislators realize that repression doesn't really help and that for instance arresting people on a trip is potentially very damaging, in that state of mind one is very vulnerable and if one is arrested and thrown in jail it might just trigger a paranoia attack.
In the U.S.A. and some other countries it has now become a standard procedure to test whether people have been taking drugs. Marihuana and other common drugs leave traces in the urine. This testing is done by the Law, but also by employers. Now indole compounds like psilocybin or LSD leave no traces that are detected by the standard urine tests. In fact, the only way to test for them is through the cerebro-spinal fluid and those tests will not be the order of the day, we hope.
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