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Summary by Dutch Authority of International Legal Status of Psilocybin Mushrooms
by W Best
Apr 14 2004
Translation by Ananda Schouten (original in Dutch)
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Dear Ms A.G. van der Plas,

After your request to the INCB and the telephone conversation we had, I am hereby sending you an explanation concerning several definitions of terms in the law on controlled substances, as last changed in 2003.

In the explanation of definitions in the law of controlled substances (the 'opium law') it is written that a means is a substance as well as a preparation. A preparation is a solid or fluid mixture of substances.

In Articles 2 and 3 is subsequently referred to the thereby belonging list I and II of controlled substances, where the substances and preparations controlled by this law are listed. On neither list are mushrooms are mentioned as a substance.

In line with the reasoning of the INCB about the Convention on Psychotropic drugs of 1971 [See INCB's Position] it is impossible to make a preparation out of mushrooms like intended in the law on controlled substances.

An analogue reasoning goes for the legs of a chair. None of them are controlled by one or both of the lists of controlled substances and are therefore not to be defined as a substance. Whatever one does to these legs of a chair, they can never fall under the definition of a preparation, defined in article 1 of the law of controlled substances.

In articles 2 and 3, forbidden activities are mentioned regarding the listed substances on list I and II, including a prohibition against preparing, treating, or processing. It may be clear that if a substance does not occur on either list, then these prohibition provisions do not apply to this substance [psilocybe mushrooms] on basis of the law on controlled substances.

In short, since a mushroom cannot be marked as a controlled substance and it is therefore not possible to make a controlled preparation from it, there is not one reason present to forbid preparation on basis of the law on controlled substances.

Reverse reasoning, it is so that when one takes psilocin and/or psilocybin (substances named on list 1 of the law on controlled substances) and would add these to edible mushrooms, for example champignons, an illegal preparation would arise, as meant in the law on controlled substances.

For completeness sake I hereby, again state the point of view of the INCB, which I fully agree on:

"As you are aware, mushrooms containing the above substances are collected and abused for their hallucinogenic effects. As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocin and psilocybin are at present controlled under the convention on psychotropic substances of 1971. Consequently, preparations of these plants are not under international control and therefore, not subjects to any of the articles of the 1971 convention."

This statement has been formulated by the secretariat of the INCB in consultation with the science department and the legal advise department of the United Nations International Drug Control Program.

Trusting I have been of service to you, I hereby sign,
With high regards,
The Senior-Inspector on the law on controlled substances,

W. Best, pharmacist