Netherlands to ban 'magic mushrooms'

Agence France-Presse


THE HAGUE -- The Dutch government has decided to ban "magic mushrooms" and announced that it would put a bill before parliament under a proposal put forward by the ministers of health and justice, Ab Klink and Hirsch Ballin.

The decision, backed by a majority of members of parliament, was taken late Friday after a number of accidents mostly involving tourists.

The health ministry said the number of incidents following use of hallucinogenic mushrooms had risen from 55 in 2004 to more than 100 last year, mainly in Amsterdam.

In March 2007 a 17-year-old French girl who had consumed magic mushrooms died when she jumped off a bridge in the Dutch capital, though no formal link was made between her death and the use of the drug.

The ban on cultivation and use of the mushrooms means the closure of the "smartshops" that sell them. Sale of dried mushrooms is already forbidden, but fresh ones are allowed.

Use and possession of cannabis was de-penalized in 1976 in the Netherlands. It is sold in coffee shops under license, in small doses.

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