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Cultivation of Mushrooms Not Prohibited

Het Eindhovens Dagblad (Eindhoven Daily News - Netherlands)

By Rene van der Lee

'Man from Hoenzadriel is punishable'

Den Bosch - The cultivation of hallucinogenic mushrooms is not prohibited. But the processing of pulverized mushrooms in syrup-wafers and honey is punishable. This states mr. A. Machielse, prosecutor of the High Court. Machielse comes to the conclusion that the cultivator from Hoenzadriel, who's nursery was raided last january, still can be sued. Exept for Psilocybe cubensis- and Panaeolus cyanescens mushrooms, the police has seized also some boxes with syrup-wafers and 'Herbal Honey' at last winters' raid. A laboratory analysis showed that these products contained powdered mushrooms. Refering to the dutch Opium Law, Machielse states that the cultivator is therefore punishable. The High Court, the most important court of the Netherlands, usually accepts the advices of the prosecutor.

The mushroom cultivator from Hoenzadriel went to the High Court because he wants his seized materials back. The prosecutor in Den Bosch - the one of the 'normal' court - decides according to the judgement of the High Court if the cultivator will be sued. The mushrooms which were seized at the bust, contained the controlled substances psilocin and psilocybin. But this does not automatically mean that the mushrooms are controlled. Machielse compares the mushroom case with the qat-case of december 1994. Catha edulis also contains controlled substances, but the plant itself is legal.

If the High Court indeed accepts the argumentation of Machielse, the State will very probably be sued by the Amsterdam laboratory assistant, who told the cultivator how to grow mushrooms. This man, who only wants to be named by his forename Tim, states that he has operated within the borders of the law. "And it is also not punishable if you put the mushrooms in jars of honey". The Ministery of Justice still blocks Tim's bank accounts, and Tim had to spend a week in jail also. "I think about a claim for damages of several hundred thousands of guilders", he says.

Some months ago, The Ministery of Justice also said that the the mushrooms were artificially potentiated. The prosecutor now concludes that this was not true. "Not only that, it is also scientifically impossible", says the lab assistant. The final judgement of the High Court is expected within several weeks.