Nederlands, one of the most liberal countries when it comes to drug laws is tightening the noose on the sale of Magic Mushrooms starting 1st of December 2008. According to a study published in January by Amsterdam’s health services, the city’s emergency services were summoned 148 times to deal with a bad reaction to mushrooms in 2004-2006 of those 134 were foreigners, with Britons forming the largest group. 92% of the incidents related to Magic Mushrooms were due to Foreign Tourists.

The death of a 17 year old French girl who jumped from a bridge in Amsterdam in March of this year after consuming mushrooms, brought the drug to the attention of the parliament. The incident led to a motion approved by a parliament majority to prohibit fresh mushrooms. The fractions of CDA, VVD, CU and PVV repeated that point of view after it was made public that a French tourist in Amsterdam had killed his dog "under the influence of mushrooms". Later an investigation by a GGD psychiatrist revealed that his act had probably nothing to to do with the use of mushrooms, like in case of the 17 year old French girl who is said to have had a history of psychological issues !



The proposed ban comes as a nasty shock to the smart shop owners who market these shrooms and are said to sell about 500,000 dozes in the Netherlands annually. They remain opposed to the ban as do most people who know prohibition of any drug is never a good idea instead organizing drug awareness campaigns and ensuring an age limit on the buyer, also limiting the smart shops that market these substances should keep things in perspective and less chaotic. Another health report published in January 2007 said that while alcohol consumption led to 2,050 incidents in 2005, magic mushrooms had caused only 70.

Marjan Heuving, a spokeswoman for the country’s Trimbos Institute, a drug policy think-tank, said mushrooms are not toxic and themselves pose no physical risk to users.

But she agreed that people’s reaction to them is unpredictable, depending on factors such as weight; how much food they have eaten recently; their past drug experience; psychological health; and the setting in which they are taken.

“The main danger to the user is that he will somehow hurt himself,” she said. “I should add that that’s extremely rare.”



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