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June 2005
Recent News and Updates
by Erowid
Jun 2005
Citation:   Erowid. "Recent News and Updates." Erowid Extracts. June 2005;8:2.
NIH Requests Papers Be Public #
As of May 2, 2005, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has asked researchers and investigators who receive NIH funding to submit their final manuscript to PubMed Central, where the full text will be archived and made publicly available. PubMed Central (www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov) is a digital archive of peer-reviewed research maintained by NIH.

NIH is asking that authors voluntarily submit their final manuscript upon acceptance for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, and provide timing for public posting (within 12 months of journal publication). While compliance is voluntary at this point, we're extremely pleased to see NIH moving in the direction of requiring free public access to the results of publicly funded research.


Death of James Arthur (1958 - 2005) #
James Arthur (Dugovic), author of the book Mushrooms and Mankind, died April 15th, 2005 while incarcerated in Madera County California. He was 47 years old. According to news reports, he was found dead in his jail cell with a sheet tied around his neck. His death has been ruled a suicide, although some controversy has been aired on public forums regarding the circumstances surrounding his arrest and death.

He had been arrested April 25, 2004 on six child molestation charges "involving three children younger than age 14". It has also been alleged that he was a registered sex offender stemming from a 1996 conviction in Fresno County. He was being held on $300,000 bail.

James Arthur was known for his writing and lecturing on the topic of mushrooms and religion. He was working on a book with Jack Herer at the time of his arrest. Though it's unlikely that Arthur will be remembered for his scholarship, many enjoyed his presentations that drew connections between religious historical art and psychoactive mushrooms.
  1. "News from the San Joaquin Valley." SF Gate: AP Breaking News. Apr 12, 2005.
  2. "Inmate's death is ruled a suicide." Fresno Bee. Apr 12, 2005.

U.K. Legislation Targets Mushrooms #
As predicted, on April 7, 2005 Britain's parliament passed a new drug law which adds fresh mushrooms to the list of class A substances.

Part 4, section 21 of the new Drugs Bill specifies that "Fungus (of any kind) which contains psilocin or an ester of psilocin" is included in class A. Previously, only dried or otherwise prepared mushrooms met the legal criteria of "preparation or other product containing psilocin or an ester of psilocin".

Although the British government has not announced a date, it has been suggested that the new law may go into effect in June 2005. This will make possession and sales of fresh mushrooms illegal, effectively shutting down the burgeoning fresh psychedelic mushroom business.

  1. U.K. Drugs Bill. HL Bill 32; Part 4, Sec. 21. Erowid.org/extracts/n8/drugs_bill.shtml

Death Related to 5-MeO-AMT, Not LSD #
The death of 18-year-old Gloria Discerni in Oct 2004 received public attention as it was attributed to LSD supposedly put in her drink by friend Cameron Jester. When the case was first reported by a number of media sources, we responded with speculation that the substance was unlikely to have been LSD. Indeed, when toxicology results were returned, the material was identified as 5-MeO-AMT.

According to media reports, Jester purchased the 5-MeO-AMT believing it was liquid LSD, and brought it to a party at the request of friends. He put 10 drops of the liquid in a glass of orange juice for Discerni, and also shared some of his drink with her. After ingesting the orange juice Discerni quickly began vomiting and losing consciousness. She was taken to the hospital, where she was in a coma for three days before being taken off life support by her family.

Jester was sentenced to 2 years in prison, but the sentence was suspended by the judge in favor of probation.
  1. "Man gets probation for supplying drug." Spokesman Review. Apr 22, 2005.
  2. Erowid. "Reported LSD-Related Death Was Not LSD". Apr 2005:v1.4. Erowid.org/extracts/n8/5-meo-amt_death.shtml

Operation Web-Tryp #
In July 2004, the DEA implemented Operation Web-Tryp, which targeted online research chemical vendors and led to the arrest of ten people. Following are updates on several of these cases:
  1. On March 21, 2005, Michael Burton of American Chemical Supply plead guilty to a single count of distribution and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance analog which resulted in a death. He faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life.
  2. David Linder of Pondman.nu was convicted of related charges (we have not yet learned what the exact charges were) and is expected to be sentenced in May 2005.
  3. The case against April Curtis of RACResearch is still pending.
Strangely, as of May 1, 2005, the websites of several research chemical vendors are still available online.
  1. U.S. Attorney's Office Press Release. Mar 21, 2005. Erowid.org/extracts/n8/burton.shtml

France Bans Ayahuasca Components #
In January 2005, a French court decided that ayahuasca was not illegal because it did not qualify as a preparation of DMT. In response, on May 3, 2005, the French government added the following plants and chemicals to its list of controlled substances: Banisteriopsis caapi, Banisteriopsis rusbyana, Peganum harmala, Psychotria viridis, Diplopterys cabrerana, Mimosa hostilis, harmine, harmaline, tetrahydroharmine (THH), harmol, and harmalol.
  1. France Controls Ayahuasca Plants & Chemicals. May 5, 2005. Erowid.org/extracts/n8/france_ayahuasca.shtml

Supreme Court to Hear Ayahuasca Case #
In August 2002, the União do Vegetal (UDV) in the United States won a preliminary injunction protecting their use of the ayahuasca tea until a federal case against them is decided. This preliminary injunction was appealed by the U.S. Attorney General, and on April 18th, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. No date has been set for the hearing.