Dutch court upholds magic mushroom ban

15th April 2009, Comments 3 comments

The magic mushroom vendors' association, who lost the court appeal, says they are disappointed the court is allowing the health minister to get away with lies.

THE HAGUE – Dutch magic mushroom vendors lost a court appeal Tuesday against a government ban on the hallucinogenic recreational fungi.

"The magic mushroom ban is not unjust," the Appeals Court in The Hague said, dismissing a challenge by the owners of the so-called smart shops that sold the drug.

"The effect of the ruling is that the magic mushroom ban, effective from 1 December 2008, remains in place."

The ban was introduced by Health Minister Ab Klink, who believes consumption of the fungi "can lead to unpredictable and risky behaviour".

It followed the death in 2007 of a French teenager who had taken mushrooms before jumping to her death from an Amsterdam bridge, reigniting a national debate over tolerance of the substance.

The ban, approved by lawmakers, forbids the cultivation and sale of 186 species of shrooms or paddos, which also grow naturally in the wild.

The dried variety has been illegal in the country for several years.

"We are deeply disappointed," Paul van Oyen, a spokesman for the magic mushroom vendors' association VLOS, told AFP. "The court is allowing the minister to get away with lies."

VLOS maintains there is no proof that magic mushrooms are dangerous and is demanding compensation for the loss of income.

Before the ban, there had been six magic mushroom growers in the Netherlands, 180 smart shops, and a few hundred employees in an industry with an annual turnover of EUR 15-20 million, according to the VLOS.

Authorities say about 90 percent of the 1.5 million to two million doses consumed in the Netherlands every year were bought by foreign tourists.

"We will not pursue this in the courts," said Van Oyen. "It is too expensive. We will retire to lick our wounds."

AFP / Expatica

3 Comments To This Article

  • Mark posted:

    on 15th April 2009, 17:18:14 - Reply

    [Con't]
    In fact, a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam public health body (GG
  • Mark posted:

    on 15th April 2009, 17:14:10 - Reply

    Contrary to the assertion in the article above, the ban did not "follow[..}the death in 2007 of a French teenager who had taken mushrooms before jumping to her death from an Amsterdam bridge, [...]"

    In truth, it followed a series of media articles which erroneously claimed the French teenager concerned had taken mushrooms before her suicide. A spokesperson for the inspectorate responsible for enforcing controlled substances legislation denied that there was any evidence of mushroom-use in the case, and in fact stated that there had been no autopsy.

    It is exactly this kind of lazy journalism which has allowed the government to mislead the public into believing that this substance poses serious public health and public order risks, and to use the subsequent "outrage" as justification for an unnecessary ban, which in reality is motivated by a desire for positive headlines portraying the government as in control.

    The second to last graph contains another example of such a false claim: "authorities" don't "say about 90 percent of the 1.5 million to two million doses consumed in the Netherlands every year were bought by foreign tourists".

    In fact, a spokeswoman for the Amsterdam public health body (GG
  • waalstraat posted:

    on 15th April 2009, 13:21:47 - Reply

    How utterly stupid. By criminalizing mushrooms, the government and the court has given the underworld a gift...the mafia and Hell's Angels must be celebrating the decision.
    Higher prices for mushrooms, no oversight, no btv taxes collected on sales....It is hard to believe grown men in government can be so idiotic...and it is easier to believe that a lot of bribary money has been spread around!
    If the Netherlands had any real investigative reporter, it would be interesting to follow the money trail and uncover "'shroomgate".