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

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.
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?

Salvia Divinorum: Ban Bill Filed in Texas Legislature, Another Would Bar Sales to Youth

Monday was the first day to file bills for the next session of the Texas legislature, and by day's end, two different bills addressing salvia divinorum had been filed. One would criminalize its possession, making it a Class A misdemeanor, while another would bar its sale to people under the age of 18.
Salvia leaves
Salvia divinorum is an hallucinogenic member of the mint family that has been used for centuries for religious purposes by the Masatec Indians of southern Mexico. In the past few years, awareness of the plant's psychedelic qualities has resulted in a spike of interest in it. It is currently sold in head shops, smoke shops, other outlets, and on the Internet.

Although about a dozen states have moved to either ban it outright or restrict its sales, the DEA, which has been studying salvia for years now, has not moved to place it on the schedule of federally controlled substances.

State Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson (R-Waco) doesn't want to wait for the feds any longer. On Monday, Anderson filed House Bill 126 to ban possession of the plant.

"With a single use they can cause some serious, serious damage to their brain and their mental function and it causes hallucinations primarily, as the name would indicate," Anderson told the Waco Tribune. "It's a potent hallucinogen and we start to see some flashbacks scenarios and things like that from even one time use," he said.

Not one to shy away from the spotlight, Anderson appeared the following day on the Dr. Phil show during a segment on risky teen behavior. "I hope my appearance on the Dr. Phil show will help to educate people on the dangers of salvia and the nationwide exposure will help lend more credibility to our testimony," Anderson said, explaining that he was moved to act after a constituent's daughter suffered a bad experience with the plant.

The other salvia bill, Senate Bill 257, is much less restrictive. It would make it a Class C misdemeanor to supply salvia to a minor. The bill says that being an employee of a shop that sold salvia would not be a defense, but selling it to someone with an apparently valid ID who turned out to be a minor would.

If either bill passes the legislature, it would go into effect next September 1.

Salvia Divinorum: Massachusetts Ban Passes House

A bill that would add salvia divinorum to the Bay State's list of controlled substances has passed out of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. HB 4434 passed the House on September 29 and now heads for the state Senate.
salvia leaves
Supporters of the ban, led by Rep. Viriato Manuel deMacedo (R-Plymouth), who cosponsored the bill, said salvia is a dangerous, mild-altering drug. They cited the infamous Youtube videos of young people under the influence of the plant, as well as recent national survey data suggesting that use is on the rise.

Salvia has no known toxic level and produces a fast-acting, short-lived high. It has been used in traditional shamanism in Mexico, where it originated, for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. According to the Salvia Divinorum Research and Information Center, the herb has been used in divination, healing, meditation, and for exploration of consciousness.

If the Massachusetts salvia ban passes into law, Massachusetts would become at least the ninth state to outlaw the herb. Another handful of states have restricted its sales without an outright ban.

The Massachusetts bill also includes a provision adding blunt wrapping papers and glass rose pipes to the state's list of items deemed drug paraphernalia.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Post-Burning Man Fundraising Soirée

The soirée is open to anyone who is ready to make a donation to MAPS today of $50 or more. To get on the guest list, please make a donation of $50 or greater on the MAPS webstore and type “San Francisco Soiree” in the comment field on the payment page. You can also call the MAPS office (open 9AM-5PM PST on weekdays) to make your donation at 831-336-4325. Space is limited to the first 150 people. The latest we will be able to respond to an RSVP is Friday, October 10 at 2PM. This event will sell out, so reserve your spot today! Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. has been involved in the study of transformations of consciousness ever since, as a graduate student, he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. His books include The Well of Remembrance, The Unfolding Self, Green Psychology, Through the Gateway of the Heart, and two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of Ayahuasca and Teonanácatl. Ralph is Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is the founder of the Green Earth Foundation. He has developed and teaches a training program in Alchemical Divination. Shrine -Trash alchemist, circus barker, clown, and artist behind “Basura Sagrada” the 2008 Burning Man temple of which MAPS was the fiscal sponsor. This eccentric extraordinaire will attempt to perform “the story of trash.” Shrine has been a guerrilla folk artist for over twenty years. He is well known for paintings and found object/trash sculptures that display an accessible and familiar aesthetic. He has collaborated, both as a visual artist and performer, with Lucent Dossier and the Do Lab, Vau de Vire Society, and the national and world tours of Panic at the Disco! and Warp Tour. Tucker Teutsch 3.0 - Writer, craftsman, builder, networker, and visionary Tucker Teutsch 3.0 tends to always think on a grand scale. After teaming up with Shrine for the Tasseograph: Trash Tea Temple in 2007, he returned as project director and spearheaded the Burning Man temple Basura Sagrada, fiscally-sponsored by MAPS. Anjuli Verma is the Advocacy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Drug Law Reform Project. The Project’s goal is to end punitive drug policies that cause the widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration. The Project is representing MAPS in our lawsuit against the DEA. Anjuli oversees and manages the Project’s communications and advocacy strategies, which include national campaigns to reduce the number of people of color incarcerated for drug offenses, to reform marijuana laws and defend medical marijuana users, and to reduce the harms associated with both drug addiction and the drug war. David Jay Brown was the guest editor for MAPS this past year. He is well known for his many in-depth interviews with leading-edge thinkers about the evolution of consciousness and the future. He is the author of four interview collections with controversial scientists and artists, and two science fiction novels. Brown's scientific research has been in the areas of behavioral neuroscience and psychic phenomena. He has written dozens of popular essays, magazine articles, and scientific papers, and has made contributions to numerous books. His work can be found at and Valerie Mojeiko has worked with MAPS since 2000, facilitating research of the healing potentials of MDMA (Ecstasy), LSD, Ibogaine and other psychedelic medicines. In her work leading MAPS' psychedelic harm-reduction project, Valerie has prepared over 200 volunteers to provide peer-based psychedelic emergency services from Burning Man to Tel Aviv. Formally educated at New College of Florida and the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Randolph Hencken began working as MAPS’ Communication and Marketing director this past summer. He earned his Master of Arts and his Bachelors of Science from San Diego State University, where he focused all of his graduate studies on drug policy issues. Randy formerly was the program coordinator at the Ibogaine Association in Mexico. He was the founder and president of SDSUs chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and he interned for the Drug Policy Alliance in San Diego. Random Rab Emerging from his own distinct corner of the West Coast electronic music scene, Random Rab offers a powerful, timeless contribution to sonic exploration. Rab is a master of manipulating our temporal awareness, leading us into seemingly ancient worlds, where to our amazement, we find visible shreds of the future. The beats are smooth, bold, and overwhelming. The original vocals, melodies and hitting bass merge seamlessly into a tapestry of unique and unexpected journeys. Mr. Projectile Mr. Projectile has unleashed a slew of releases over the last few years, on his homegrown label Semisexual, and with Toytronic, Merck, and Parotic as well as contributing numerous tracks to the record labels Musik Aus Strom, On, and Consumers Research and Development. Mr. Projectile produces limpid, lightly toasted beats, just crispy around the edges with a dash of sauce. T.W. Monk An eclectic and lifelong musician, The White Monk produces funky, soulful, shake-your-booty and bob-your-head tracks. T.W. Monk has morphed from his day job helping youth with special needs as a music therapist, to an underground DJ helping party people in need of beautiful rhythms, melodies and beats. Lunacy Lunacy Productions is a Santa Cruz - based aerial dance company specializing in sensual, dark, airborne experiences. With high-rigged silks, hammocks, hoops and ropes, Lunacy's performances defy gravity, embrace levity, destroy convention and always please the audience. Lunacy will unveil a special ground-based performance at this event that we guarantee will knock you off your chairs. Sasha Shulgin Glassware Auction Guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to purchase an authentic Sasha Shulgin-autographed scientific glassware that he used in his laboratory where he synthesized MDMA and hundreds of other compounds. The iconic Sasha signed and donated these items to MAPS to help us raise funds for our MDMA research William Westerfeld House The soirée will be held at the William Westerfeld House, a 28-room Victorian Mansion built in 1889. The home was featured in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and was frequented by members of the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company. In 1967 Kenneth Lager filmed My Demon Brother with Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, and Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil at the house. Jim Siegel purchased the home in 1986 and has fully restored it. Jim owns the most extensive collection of 60’s era Haight-Ashbury memorabilia and artifacts. He has kindly offered the house to us to raise funds for our on-going research projects.
Sat, 10/11/2008 - 8:00pm
Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
United States

Salvia Divinorum: US Military Bases in England, Okinawa Say No to Sally D

US Marine commanders in Okinawa and US Air Force commanders in England have moved this month to ban salvia divinorum, the fast-acting, short-lived hallucinogen that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Although there is no general stricture against salvia in the US armed forces, the bans are the latest in a small but growing list of military bases or commands that have banned the substance.
salvia leaves
In Okinawa, Marine Corps Bases Japan issued an order banning salvia and other "legal highs" on September 10. The other substances included in the order were mitragyna speciosa korth, spice, blue lotus, convolvulaceae argyreia nervosa, lysergic acid amide, amanitas mushrooms, datura, absinthe, and 5-MEO-DMT. The order prohibits the use, possession, or distribution of those substances by Marine Corps personnel and base workers.

The new order builds on Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5300.28D, which prohibits abusing lawful substances, such as cough syrup, edge dressing and keyboard cleaner to produce "intoxication, excitement, or stupefaction of the central nervous system." Both the Navy order and Marine Corps Bases Japan order are general orders under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Violators face administrative action, court martial, or both, with a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, two years in the brig, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

The driving force behind the new order, officials stated, is to eliminate any uncertainty that substances used to "get high" are prohibited. They also cited fears that the drug use could alienate their Japanese hosts.

"Any substance abuse can affect individual and unit readiness," said John Velker, the director of the Marine Corps Community Services Substance Abuse Counseling Center, adding that people turn to drugs for various reasons. "There is a better way to live and deal with frustration than trying to get high."

Two days later, Col. Jay Silveria, commanding officer of the 48th Fighter Wing, based at Britain's RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell air bases, issued an order banning salvia and an herbal concoction known as Spice. Violators could be booted out of the Air Force or court-martialed.

"The presence of persons, in a military environment, who engage in drug abuse through the use of either salvia divinorum or Spice, seriously impairs the ability to accomplish the military's mission," Silveria wrote in the order. "Members who abuse drugs such as salvia divinorum or Spice adversely affect the ability of all units at the 48th Fighter Wing."

"This order spends a little time talking about these two products in an effort to warn people," said Air Force Lt. Col. John Hartsell, the staff judge advocate at RAF Lakenheath. "It's something we got to keep the airmen away from. "It is one of those things that has kind of come up in the United States and has begun to pop up randomly in Europe."

While the Department of Health and Human Services estimated in February that 1.8 million people, most of them young, had tried salvia divinorum, it doesn't appear to be a big problem with airmen in England. Hartsell said he was aware of only one incident involving a serviceman using salvia.

While salvia has been banned in some US states, it is not a controlled substance under federal law. But at least four US Air Force bases -- Malmstrom AFB in Montana, Hill AFB in Utah, Nellis AFB in Nevada, and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma -- have already banned it.

Salvia is Potent, But is it Dangerous?

The Washington Post has a trainwreck of an editorial calling for preliminary discussion of prohibiting salvia. They seem to think the DEA’s job includes evaluating drugs scientifically and that videos of people getting high on YouTube prove that salvia is dangerous. The one thing that’s missing is any evidence of the drug actually hurting anyone.

Pete Guither rips it into confetti, so I’ll hold my breath. My thoughts on salvia hysteria are here.

Salvia Divinorum: Nebraska Shopkeeper to Go on Trial For Selling "Intoxicants" in Magic Mint Case

Sometimes no publicity is good publicity, but it's too late for that for Lincoln, Nebraska shop-owner Christian Firoz. Firoz runs Exotica, a Lincoln boutique, and back in March, as the Nebraska legislature was pondering legislation that would ban salvia (it died without a vote), Firoz was quoted in a March Lincoln Journal-Star article about an up-tick in interest in the fast-acting, short-lived hallucinogen after the ban effort received local news coverage.
salvia leaves
That resulted in a visit from undercover officers from the Lincoln police, who purchased salvia at the shop, then returned with arrest and search warrants. Firoz was charged not with selling salvia, but with violating a state law against selling substances "which will induce an intoxicated condition ...when the seller, offerer or deliverer knows or has reason to know that such compound is intended for use to induce such condition."

That prompted Firoz' attorney, Susan Kirchmann, to seek dismissal of the charges, arguing that the law is so vague ordinary people can't understand what is prohibited and must guess at its meaning. But the state countered that Firoz was not selling cleaning chemicals with no idea they were to be used to get high. Instead, he was knowingly selling salvia his purchasers would use to become intoxicated, they argued.

Last week, Lancaster County Judge Gale Pokorny sided with the prosecution. In a September 10 order, Pokorny ruled that Firoz must stand trial because he knew what he was selling.

"This judge is of the opinion that Mr. Christian Firoz knew precisely that the Salvia Divinorum he was selling was a 'substance' his purchasers were buying intended for human ingestion for the sole purpose of achieving mind altering intoxication," Pokorny wrote.

"While there may be others who potentially might be caught up in some confusing terminology contained in these two statutes, Mr. Christian Firoz does not appear to be one of them."

Firoz will go on trial for unlawfully selling a legal substance next month. He faces up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. Meanwhile, the first prosecution of anyone on salvia charges anywhere in the United States is set for next week in Bismarck, North Dakota, where at last word, Kenneth Rau was set to go to trial Monday on felony salvia possession charges.

Conference: Psychedelic Drugs in Medicine, Art, Spirituality and Culture

Horizons 2008 Horizons is a forum for learning about psychedelics. It seeks to open a fresh dialogue about psychedelics and challenges society to rethink their role in history, culture, medicine, spirituality and art. After a successful debut in 2007, it is now an annual event. Speakers and artists have been announced and tickets are on sale now! Psychedelics are a unique class of psychoactive drugs that have been used by humans for thousands of years. Millions of people in every corner of the globe have used them to alter their consciousness in search of introspective contemplation, spiritual insights, creative exploration and physical and psychological healing. In the 1950s and early 1960s, legal research with psychedelics spurred important discoveries in science and psychology. During the 1960s, psychedelics entered worldwide popular culture. Fueled by the wild social dogmas of the era, recreational use become commonplace. Questions about their safety, medical value, history and implications in politics and culture were unfortunately answered with numerous myths spread by both their users and the media. Times are changing. The freewheeling sixties are now a distant memory and the hype of the millennial rave fever has finally been laid to rest. Now, a small group of dedicated researchers and activists has orchestrated a renaissance in psychedelic research that is re-shaping the public's understanding of these unique substances. Horizons brings together the brightest minds and boldest voices of this movement to share their research, insights and dreams for the future. Learn more about Horizons, speakers, the 2007 event or other resources for psychedelic knowledge. Speakers (in alphabetical order) * Allan Hunt Badiner - Co-editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics * Rick Doblin, Ph.D. - Founder/president of MAPS * Robert Forte - Divinity scholar, editor of Entheogens and the Future of Religion * Alex Grey - Artist and co-founder of Chapel of Sacred Mirrors * Allyson Grey - Artist and co-founder of Chapel of Sacred Mirrors * Roland Griffiths, Ph.D. - Psilocybin researcher, Professor of Behavioral Biology and Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine * John Halpern, M.D. - MDMA, psilocybin and peyote researcher, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School * Sean Helfritsch & Isaiah Saxon - Video artists, creators of Bjork's Wanderlust 3D music video * Dan Merkur - Psychoanalyst, author of The Ecstatic Imagination * Dimitri Mobengo Mugianis - Ibogaine therapist * David Nichols, Ph.D. - Founder of Heffter Research Institute, Distinguished Chair in Pharmacology at Purdue University * Daniel Pinchbeck - Author of Breaking Open the Head and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl * Sasha and Ann Shulgin - Pharmacological pioneers, authors of Tikhal and Pikhal Reception Friday, September 19 8pm - midnight. Performance at 10pm. Free with a Horizons conference ticket, $10 otherwise (cash only). An evening of celebration, art, performance and friends featuring some of New York City's finest creative talent. Featuring: (in alphabetical order) large-scale inflatable installations by AKAirways, the GamelaTron, the world's first and only full robotic Gamelan orchestra and live silkscreening by Peripheral Media Projects. For more information, including tickets, see:
Fri, 09/19/2008 - 8:00pm - Sun, 09/21/2008 - 6:00pm
55 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012
United States

Press Release: Horizons Presents Groundbreaking Research and Perspectives on Psychedelic Drugs in Medicine, Art, Spirituality and Culture at Conference September 19-21, at Judson Memorial Church

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2008 CONTACT: Kevin Balktick at [email protected] or 646-537-1701, or Neal Goldsmith at [email protected] Horizons Presents Groundbreaking Research and Perspectives on Psychedelic Drugs in Medicine, Art, Spirituality and Culture at Conference September 19-21, at Judson Memorial Church Experts from across North America gather to discuss the ongoing renaissance in the exploration of psychedelic drugs. Presenters include medical researchers from several of North America's most prestigious universities, world-renown artists, religious scholars, bestselling authors and other key players. Horizons is the largest psychedelics conference in the Americas. Psychedelics are a unique class of psychoactive drugs that have been used by humans for thousands of years. Millions of people in every corner of the globe have used them to alter their consciousness in search of introspective contemplation, spiritual insights, creative exploration and physical and psychological healing. In the 1950s and early 1960s, legal research with psychedelics spurred important discoveries in neuroscience and psychology. During the 1960s, psychedelics entered worldwide popular culture. Questions about their safety, medical value, history and implications in politics and culture were unfortunately answered with numerous myths spread by both their recreational users and the media. The freewheeling sixties have become a distant memory and the hype of the millennial rave fever has faded as well. Now, a small group of dedicated researchers and activists has orchestrated a renaissance in psychedelic research that is re-shaping the public's understanding of these unique substances. Horizons brings together the brightest minds and boldest voices of this movement to share their research, insights and dreams for the future. Notable presenters include John Halpern MD from Harvard Medical School, Roland Griffiths Ph.D. From Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, David E. Nichols MD from Purdue University, Isiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch, the video artists responsible for Bjork's most recent 3-D music video and pharmacological pioneers Alexander and Ann Shulgin. The venue, Judson Memorial Church, is a historically significant, landmarked location. It has a long history of promoting the arts, free speech and progressive politics. For more information please go to:
New York, NY
United States

If Salvia Isn’t Toxic or Addictive, What’s the Argument for Banning it?

The New York Times has a fascinating piece on the growing hysteria surrounding salvia. Researchers are studying its medical potential, college kids are tripping on YouTube, and state legislators are trying to outlaw it entirely.

All of this may soon provoke an illustrative glimpse at the philosophical dimensions of drug prohibition, in that salvia is powerfully psychoactive, yet shows no signs of addictiveness or toxicity. It isn’t causing crime or medical emergencies. The short duration of its effects allows users to indulge without becoming incapacitated to the point of impacting their daily lives. In short, salvia simply doesn’t fit into the pre-existing categories that drug warriors have carved out in order to justify prohibitions against other popular recreational drugs. So what will they say about it?

Though states are moving quickly, Bertha K. Madras, a deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said federal regulators remained in a quandary.

"The risk of any drug that is intoxicating is high," Dr. Madras said. "You're one car ride away from an event that could be life-altering. But in terms of really good studies, there is just very little. So what do you do? How do you make policy in the absence of good hard cold information?"

Is that a trick question? I give up, Bertha. How? This is the same woman who opposed distributing overdose prevention kits, based on the theory that overdoses might be good for people. So I'm sure she’ll eventually find a solution here that won’t require copious doses of scientific methodology. Rarely in the history of the war on drugs have facts or common sense ever gotten in the way of someone trying to outlaw something. Tell Joe Biden it makes you think you’re a unicorn and he’ll have the Saving American Lives from Volatile Intoxicants Act on your desk by nightfall.

But if salvia is ultimately banned at the federal level simply because it makes you insanely high for 5 minutes, one might interpret that as a long-awaited acknowledgement that the war on drugs really is just an attempt to control our minds.

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