- 11 Dec 08
The famous fungi have now been outlawed in, of all places, Holland - and an intriguing legal battle looms.
The fairy kingdom will be livid; magicians will be outraged; libertarians will be shocked: Holland has finally banned magic mushrooms! The prohibition came into effect on December 1, and the psychedelic shrooms are no longer available to purchase in the famous smart shops. Tourists and natives alike are prohibited from possessing any strain of psilocybin mushroom, including several species which grow wild in the Dutch countryside.
The ban had been mooted for some time, but it was not expected to come into effect so quickly. The Christian-dominated government had previously agreed to parliamentary hearings about the proposed ban, but they have now decided that this is not necessary and have issued a Harney-esque diktat banning the sale and possession of magic mushrooms with immediate effect.
Needless to say, this has not gone down well with the smart shops and mushroom farms who have been shifting, by their own estimates, 1.5 million portions of fresh magic mushrooms per year. The Smartshop Association has announced that they are suing the Dutch government, which has bluntly refused to take account of the views of its own health experts or the opinions of the large number of scientists and experts who argued against the ban.
The Smartshop Association will ask the courts to rule that the ban is illegal because the government has not established the harmfulness of magic mushrooms. This is the sort of action which was discussed by both UK and Irish mushroom retailers, but it came to nought, and the very real prospect of overturning the ad hoc prohibition of psilocybin mushrooms in Ireland and the UK was never fully explored.
Perhaps if this Dutch action is successful, it will inspire similar suits in other European countries. Now, that’s something to put on the wish list I’m planning to send to that red-capped psychedelic shaman of Siberian folklore...