MAGIC MUSHROOMS have become a class A drug under a new law which has come into force today (July 18).
A year after the so-called ‘third summer of love’, owing to a loophole in the law which allowed fresh mushrooms to be sold legally, the law has been clarified, classing them in line with heroin and cocaine.
Where mushrooms were last week widely available for sale in the UK, today the same transaction could result in a lengthy prison sentence.
Home Office minister Paul Goggins said in a statement: “Magic mushrooms are a powerful hallucinogen and can cause real harm, especially to vulnerable people and those with mental health problems. The law has not been clear with regard to the status of fresh magic mushrooms and some have tried to exploit this apparent loophole.”
Previously, the chemicals contained in mushrooms – psilocybin and psilocin – were class A, but unprepared mushrooms sold in their natural state were legal after London store The Psyche Deli successfully obtained a VAT registration for import – inspiring a number of stores across the UK to sell them.
The Psyche Deli website today reads: “The only mushrooms you’ll be able to get from July 18 are frozen or dried ones from your favourite Class A drugs dealer – and the government won’t get any VAT on sales. If you’re lucky you might also be offered some Grade A smack or a Crack cookie to go with that.”
Clause 21 of the new act makes it an offence to import, export, produce, supply, possess or possess with intent to supply magic mushrooms, including growing kits.
But exceptions will be made for those who unknowingly pick ‘shrooms in the wild or find them growing in their garden.
The Entheogen Defence Fund, a body formed by mushroom retailers, plans to challenge the new law, claiming it contravenes European trade rules and the 1971 Vienna Convention. Chairman Mike Bashall said: “We would have welcomed regulation because through regulation you do get control – as with alcohol.”
Petra Maxwell, spokesperson for information body Drugscope added: “To see magic mushrooms alongside crack cocaine and heroin doesn’t seem proportionate. Now that they’re class A, if people are found in possession the ultimate, if unlikely, sanction is seven years in prison and a fine.”
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