Dutch "magic mushroom" ban enters into force
AFP - Tuesday, December 2
THE HAGUE (AFP) - - A ban on "magic mushrooms" entered into force in the traditionally liberal Netherlands Monday as despairing growers and traders considered further court action.
"We are emptying the growing houses at this moment," said Murat Kucuksen, co-owner of the Procare mushroom nursery in the small western town of Hazerswoude-Dorp.
"I don't know what I am going to do." He claimed Procare, with a production capacity of 30 tons per year, was the Netherlands' biggest grower of the hallucinogenic fungi.
Kucuksen said the health ministry ban on the merchandise known as "paddos" or "shrooms" and sold in the Netherlands at so-called smart shops, would hurt his pocket to the tune of 10 million euros.
"All the investments I have made in the business are now worthless. If the government does not compensate me, I will have a big problem."
In the latest sign of a hardening stance on recreational drug use in the Netherlands, the district court in The Hague rejected a petition last Friday by industry body VLOS for an interdict against the prohibition.
A total of 186 species of "shrooms" or "paddos" became illegal from Monday, with more expected to follow later. The dried variety has been banned in the country for several years.
The ban followed the death in March last year 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.
On Monday, VLOS spokesman Paul van Oyen said the body's members would meet shortly to discuss further action.
"The situation is dire," he told AFP, "Our members are very angry and very worried."
According to VLOS, there were six magic mushroom growers in the Netherlands until Monday, 180 smart shops, and a few hundred employees in an industry with an annual turnover of 15-20 million euros.
An Amsterdam smart shop owner who would identify himself only as Meile, said the fungi had formed about 40 percent of his sales.
"I am very concerned."
And Kucuksen said there had been a near 200 percent surge in business at the weekend.
"Even private persons came to the farm and bought mushrooms by the kilo-load."
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Magic mushrooms are pictured growing at a professional magic mushroom farm in the Netherlands. A ban on "magic mushrooms" entered into force in the traditionally liberal Netherlands Monday as despairing growers and traders considered further court action.
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