News of: Tuesday, November 11 2008,
So-called 'magic mushrooms', mushrooms that are used as drugs, will be prohibited in the Netherlands as from December 1.
The prohibition had already been announced earlier this year, but only now all the procedures are finished to make the prohibition effective.
The prohibition is instigated by a series of serious incidents in Amsterdam, concerning (mostly young) tourists who used the mushrooms. The mushrooms work as a drug, but the effect is unpredictable. Using the mushrooms can - apparently - lead to violence, depression and suicidal behaviour. A French girl died earlier this year when, after using the mushrooms, she jumped of a high building.
The mushrooms (nicknamed 'paddo's' in Dutch) were already illegal drugs in their dried form, but fresh mushrooms can still be sold.
The ban will probably be contested in court by a lobbygroup of 'smart shops', the shops where the mushrooms are sold. They contend that hundreds of jobs will be lost, and that the number of incidents is too insignificant to warrant a prohibition. Also, it is said that only foreign tourists have caused problems, particularly in Amsterdam; mushroom usage in the rest of the country apparently does not cause many problems.
They also say that mushrooms, if used in moderation, and with the right information, are not dangerous.
Smart shops in Amsterdam have already said that they will simply switch to selling other drugs, that are not illegal, but have the same or similar effect.
The mayor of Amsterdam (Mr Job Cohen) has also spoken out against a prohibition.