Saturday, October 13, 2007

About those 'shrooms

By Libby

I find myself in a rare disagreement with Cernig about the recent move to ban hallucinogenic mushrooms in the Netherlands. While I agree psychedelic substances should not be ingested lightly, the ban appears to the result of a highly publicized suicide by a young woman who has a history of mental instability and a couple of hundred reported incidents of destructive behavior caused by irresponsible dosages, often mixed with multiple drugs -- including alcohol. If we're to use that criteria to ban mind altering drugs then alcohol taken alone should have been totally outlawed centuries ago.

The mushrooms have been vended in a quasi-legal manner for many years and while the supply system is not perfect, an outright ban will not solve the problem of irresponsible use and will cause more problems than it solves. The market will not vanish, it will simply go underground and with it will come the attendant crime that follows the black market. There will be no quality assurance or accountability for the vendors. It seems likely to me that the Dutch will see an increase in unfortunate incidents of bad trips as they relinquish what oversight they currently hold over the fungus.

More stringent regulations on the sales in established storefronts would have helped solve the problem. The ban will not and only serves to enable politicians to gain short term political points while failing to provide long term solutions to consumer abuse.

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