Europe: Dutch Magic Mushroom Ban Clears Final Hurdle, Now In Effect

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #563)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

As of Monday, it is no longer legal to sell or cultivate hallucinogenic mushrooms in the Netherlands. The Dutch government had imposed the ban in April, and a court in the Hague rejected a final challenge to it last Friday.

[inline:mushrooms.jpg align=left caption="magic mushrooms"]Previously, magic mushrooms had been a staple of Dutch "smart shops" and coffee shops, where they were sold alongside marijuana and hashish. But a spate of mushroom-related incidents, most of them involving teenage British tourists, led to successful calls to ban them. The incident that most galvanized public opinion against the 'shrooms was the April 2007 death of an attractive French female teen who jumped off a bridge while under the influence.

Selling dried magic mushrooms had already been illegal. The new law extends that ban to fresh ones as well.

While the Dutch government cited the risks associated with magic mushrooms, former mushroom purveyors said the ban would put users at even 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," Tatanka smart shop owner David Hendricks told the London newspaper The Independent.

Magic mushrooms gone. Coffee shops contracting. Government rumblings about shutting down the rest of them. What has happened to Holland?

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Anonymous (not verified)

This is a sad day indeed. I actually have mixed feelings about this. The idea that people died while under the influence is sobering and hard to argue with. It is quite telling that the people who got in trouble on shrooms were young foreigners. If only there was some way to issue shroom licenses for people who have done them before and not done really dumb things this problem could be avoided. Overall, I don't think the ban will caused significant problems. No one is addicted to shrooms. Nor can anyone do them more than a few times per month. The shroom market is much smaller than the marijuana market, and they won't be too sorely missed, but it is still sad that they won't be there waiting for me.

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 5:03pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am truly sorry that an attractive French female teen perished after jumping off a bridge while on mushrooms. What did she do, hit a boat? If you have ever been to Amsterdam there a no bridges high enough to injure anyone whether they were pushed, jumped, or fell into a canal or even the Amstel itself.

Was there any evidence that the mushrooms were causal in her demise? And even if there was, was this incident enough to change the laws of a country?

Apparently so.

I was in in Amsterdam when the ban went into effect on Monday. Needless to say there were many "going out of business sales" and I don't think for one moment the ban will prevent anyone form consuming mushrooms if they so choose.

What this ban, like all prohibiitons, will do, will be to push the trade into the black market and into the hands of criminals. Smart shops had been outstanding. No purveyor would sell anything to anyone who appeared inexperienced, naive, or just plan fruity. Again, I am sorry for the plight of this young woman, but there must be more to this story.

Thank you Dutch Christian Democrats who will only succeed in killing more people: teeens, French, attractive, or otherwise due to your short-sighted and vicious infringement upon the rights of others to choose how they wish to live. Who would Jesus bust?

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 5:36pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I did searches on this incident and all that ever came up is "she died after jumping off an Amsterdam bridge". No details, no actual cause of death listed. Almost has the air of an urban legend, maybe it never happened, just another psychedelic horror story dreamed up by the Dutch right to help ban responsible use of a naturally occurring fungus.

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 7:57pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It probably did happen, dude. Just saying; i'm angry about the ban too, but it's kind of disrespecful to her memory to speculate that she didn't exist.

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 8:25pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, most likely the girl was real, the death most likely occurred, but details, where are the details? It's like those stories from the '60's of people freaking out on LSD and jumping off of buildings. Sure, some events like that did actually happen, but the use of a misunderstood drug was tacked on to the suicide or the accident to turn it all into a morality tale. These are how urban legends are born.

And as for being disrespectful, I can't say even if the story is 100% accurate that I feel sorry for anyone who didn't know how to properly use psychedelics. Psychedelics are powerful drugs and shouldn't be taken lightly. It's like using a gun, you have to have proper instruction and guidance beforehand or you're likely to do something stupid and get hurt (true, not usually physically in the case of psychedelics, but still precautions must be taken). Really, being out on the streets of a foreign city tripping is the height of stupidity.

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 9:47pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with you in everything you say, except in not feeling sorry for her. People do stupid things; that doesn't mean a tragedy is not a tragedy.

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 10:31pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

That's what makes it a tragedy. She brought it on herself. That's the nature of tragedy; it's something bad that happens to you because of something you did, even if you did it unwittingly. People throw that word around as though it just means "something unfortunate". It's a lot more complex than that.

Mon, 12/08/2008 - 10:33pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I suppose they still sell peyote and all those other natural drugs? Peyote's effects are similar and much longer lasting. There are also a whole bunch of other, less known natural hallucinogens (and stimulants, and other things) that were legal in Holland when I went there. I suppose they are still legal. Mushrooms were singled out, I bet, only because they are better known. Nobody seems to be doing any research or logical analysis; it's all hysteria.

I bet many times more people die from alcohol and tobacco in holland than from mushrooms. The only difference is what's culturally accepted and what's culturally demonized.

Fri, 12/05/2008 - 7:58pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

This is one of the worst reports on this story I've seen. First of all, ALL hospitalizations and this death involving mushrooms in the Netherlands involved tourists. Zero incidents have occurred that involved ONLY magic mushrooms. All of the incidents occurred in amsterdam with tourists (about 120-260 a year in the past 5 years).

The mayor of amsterdam proposed multiple forms of regulation, but the current dutch minister of health rejected these proposals in favor of an ideological ban on 180 types of mushrooms including many which are endangered and in no way psychedelic. This was after his own research panel came out strongly against the ban.
The girl in question was diagnosed psychotic and had previously been institutionalized after attempting suicide. She was both drunk and stoned as well at the time of the incident.

Back the article, it gets its details all crossed. Coffee shops NEVER sell mushrooms alongside marijuana and hash. Many coffee shops in amsterdam will not allow anyone in who they know is in possession of mushrooms (prior to the ban) and certainly no one who appears to be tripping will be sold weed or hash in the Netherlands.
This story is pretty sensationalist and left our many important details.
Also the dutch public ministry has announced that they will not be going after people who grow for personal use. (Although this will in theory still be possible as the ban applies to any amount over .5g dried or 5g wet which is a non-active dose).
The smart shops will be pursuing other legal actions as well.

Sun, 12/07/2008 - 2:15pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

So If I go to Amsterdam today are they still selling them or not?

Tue, 04/28/2009 - 5:56am Permalink

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