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InvisibleSorted
Monkee
Registered: 12/27/98
Posts: 301
Loc: UK
High times in magic mushroom business - UK
    #2143979 - 11/29/03 11:07 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1095822,00.html

-----------------------------------------


High times in magic mushroom business - and it's perfectly legal

Sales of psychedelic fungi and growing kits are booming as retailers
take advantage of a loophole in British law

Mark Honigsbaum
Saturday November 29, 2003
The Guardian

The Aztecs dubbed them "the flesh of the gods", Siberian shamans used
them to enlighten their path to the spirit world, and they were the
preserve of hippies and the pioneers of the psychedelic movement in
the 1960s. But now magic mushrooms are at the centre of a new - and
legal - retail boom.
On the Portobello Road, in Notting Hill, west London, a stall opened
for business in August, openly advertising varieties of psychedelic
fungi and growing kits for sale. Psyche Deli, the company behind it,
now runs two similar market stalls elsewhere and supplies more than 30
shops across the country. The company estimates that its turnover and
that of its competitors in London is running at 50kg (134lb) a week,
the equivalent of 5,000 individual doses or five-hour "trips".

"We sell to all types - doctors, architects, lawyers, even the odd
policeman," said Chris Territt, one of the directors of Psyche Deli,
which operates out of a refrigerated storeroom in Dalston, north
London. "In our opinion it's only a matter of time before the fad
becomes mainstream."

The consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms is probably as old as
human society. In Algeria, 7,000-year-old drawings of "round headed"
figures holding mushroom-like objects have been found daubed on rocks
on a plateau high above the Sahara.

But the existence of the modern trade owes less to history and more to
a curious loophole in British law.

When the directors of Psyche Deli decided to test the market for
Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms in Britain, they were unsure how far the
authorities would allow them to go.

Although psilocin and psilocybin, the psychoactive constituents of the
mushrooms, are considered class A drugs under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs
Act, the gathering and possession of fresh mushrooms has never been an
offence in Britain. However, the courts have ruled that mushrooms that
have been dried or "altered by the hand of man" do constitute a class
A drug, as might mushrooms that have been frozen and packaged for
sale.

Nevertheless, when the company checked with the Home Office last March
it received a letter from a licensing officer saying it was "not
illegal to sell or give away a freshly picked mushroom" or mushroom
growing kits.

Psyche Deli promptly placed an order for mushrooms and terrariums with
growers in Holland. It is not the only company thriving thanks to
Britain's new-found fondness for fungi. Amolon, a Birmingham-based
operation, has a burgeoning delivery and mail-order business that
supplies customers across the country, while the Shroomshop, a
collective of 20 UK growers, sends mushrooms direct to head-shops in
the Midlands.

At Psyche Deli's Portobello Road stall, the queues confirm the broad
appeal of mushrooms. Sarah, 35, who works in information technology,
had not used magic mushrooms since she was a student in her twenties
until she found the stall.

Vibrant


"They had four different varieties," she said. "I asked them what the
mildest one was and they recommended the Mexicans. Within 15 minutes I
started to get this warm, tingly feeling. Within half an hour the
market had become this vibrant and colourful place."

Sarah, who declined to give her last name for fear of shocking her
work colleagues, now visits the stall every weekend. A confirmed
"shroomer", her fungus of choice is a gnarled truffle the colour and
texture of congealed muesli known as the Philosopher's Stone.

Like many operators, Psyche Deli is careful not to promote the
mushrooms as hallucinogens, saying they are being sold for
"ornamental" and "research purposes" only. The stall also carries a
prominent sign prohibiting the sale of mushrooms to under-18s.

On the advice of the Medicines Control Agency, the Camden Mushroom
Company has been told it cannot distribute information about the
mushrooms because they are not qualified herbalists. However, they are
allowed to respond to questions from customers and, asked to describe
the effects of the various strains on sale, the young men behind the
stall will happily provide the mushroom equivalent of wine notes.

Although the effects of psilocybin can vary, from feelings of euphoria
and excitement to mild or strong visual hallucinations, for most
people mushroom munching appears to be a pleasant experience.

Alex Levine, 26, a sales professional, has been using psilocybin
mushrooms on and off for two years with no apparent ill-effects. "I
tend to do them with a group of friends before I get out clubbing," he
said. "With LSD or ecstasy you definitely feel as though you've done
some damage, but with mushrooms you feel right as rain afterwards.
It's just an all-round positive experience."

But others tell a different story. Chris, 40, a songwriter from west
London, who is used to other recreational drugs, decided to try 10g
(0.32oz) of the Mexicans but found it was more than he could handle.

"I dropped them at home with my wife at 7pm. By 8pm the room was
pulsating and I had to lie down. I felt I was no longer in control."

Concerned by the lack of regulation and the growth in mail-order
deliveries from Holland, Shroomshop has proposed that British
retailers and distributors adopt a voluntary "safe sale" protocol.

This would require them to inform purchasers about unpleasant side
effects such as anxiety and paranoia, restrict sales to over 17s, and
impose maximum dosages of 35g a person.

Many retailers, worried about their uncertain legal position, have
already adopted similar measures. Dave Clayton-Wright, the manager of
Planet Bong, a shop in Leamington Spa specialising in drug-related
paraphernalia, began offering mushrooms as a novelty to selected
customers earlier this year.

"We have a little chat with each person beforehand to make sure they
understand what they are doing and know what the law says," he said.
"The response has been amazing. We're seeing the same groups of
shroomers every week."

However, drug policy experts argue that it is unrealistic to expect
the market to regulate itself and that the current laws should be
reformed. "The idea that fresh mushrooms are legal but if they're
prepared in a mug of tea then it's punishable with 14 years in prison
is patently absurd," said Steve Rolls, a spokesman for drugs policy
thinktank Transform.

"The Home Office should reduce the controls and issue proper
regulations to ensure they're only sold to adults and that customers
are given correct dosage and health information."

Fungal four

The most popular mushroom sold on stalls and by mail-order is
Stropharia cubensis. Unlike Liberty Cap or Psilocybe semilanceata (the
mushroom variety that grows wild in the UK), the cubensis strain is
easy to cultivate in terrariums, and its low water content means it
remains fresh for up to seven to 10 days.

The fungus is sold in four common varieties:

Mexican


A variety of shapes and sizes but with a white stem and a tan-orange
cap. As with all varieties of cubensis, the stem on contact with the
air turns a bluish colour because of its psilocybin content. A 10 gram
dose will result in a 'trip' of four to six hours -giggly and
sociable, with colourful visuals

Level Beginner

Cost ?10 for 10g

Colombian


Same tan orange-tan cap and blue-hued stem as the Mexican variety, but
generally slightly larger in size; they also give a slightly stronger,
slightly more hallucinogenic trip

Level Intermediate

Cost ?10 for 10g

Thai


Mainly imported from the Netherlands, they have longer, thicker stalk
and a green hue to the cap. The overall experience is 'trippier' than
either the Mexican or Colombian strains, with visuals that are more
colourful and intense

Level Expert

Cost ?12.50 for 10g

Philosopher's Stone


A truffle, rather than a toadstool, this grows in the roots of a
normal mushroom, and has a higher percentage of psilocybin by weight.
Resembling congealed muesli, it tastes like slightly bitter walnut and
produces a more physical and euphoric buzz

Level Connoisseur

Cost ?15 for 10g



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OfflineTheSlapnCapn
Slappin' thangs.
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Registered: 08/08/03
Posts: 2,138
Loc: zee mountain state
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Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Sorted]
    #2144071 - 11/29/03 12:03 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Man... if someone tried to do that in the US, Ashcroft would be pounding down the door in like 5 minutes.

-j


--------------------
I promise to live, love, exist, and be, and hope that all life will love to be in existence with me. Also, fuck you.

-j


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InvisibleLanaV
Head Banana
Female

Registered: 10/28/99
Posts: 3,091
Loc: www.MycoSupply.com
Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: TheSlapnCapn]
    #2144500 - 11/29/03 03:44 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Very Interesting...

If something like that appeared in the US, people would think that those vendors would be on crack, not mushrooms :smile:

Lana


--------------------
Myco Supply - Distributors of Mycological Products
http://www.MycoSupply.com

The Premiere Source for Mushroom Growing Supplies.
Visit us online or call us toll free


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OfflineHidingInPlainSight
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Registered: 01/27/03
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Loc: Portland, OR
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Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Sorted]
    #2144903 - 11/29/03 06:42 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Good for the UK!


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Invisiblemuhurgle
Turtles all theway down

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 299
Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Sorted]
    #2145003 - 11/29/03 07:24 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Isn't the Guardian rather conservative? This piece seems oddly positive towards mushrooms. The only negative thing in the whole article was some dude who "felt I was no longer in control" (well, duh). And they even list different types with their respective prices and tells you where you can buy them.

Very odd indeed. It's almost suspicious.


--------------------
"To make this mundane world sublime
Take half a gram of phanerothyme."

Aldous Huxley


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Offlinepattern
multiplayer

Registered: 07/19/02
Posts: 2,183
Loc: Canada
Last seen: 2 years, 8 months
Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: muhurgle]
    #2145844 - 11/30/03 04:51 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Another +1 for The Gaurdian :thumbup: 


--------------------
man = monkey + mushroom


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OfflineMetaShroom
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Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: muhurgle]
    #2145993 - 11/30/03 06:41 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

The Guardian is the epitome of middle class liberalism.


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Invisiblemuhurgle
Turtles all theway down

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 299
Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: MetaShroom]
    #2146343 - 11/30/03 12:32 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Ok, the name sounds so conservative, but I've never actually read it. There should be some kind of database somewhere which could tell where a news source was coming from politically, who owns it etc. It's impossible to know the bias of any random internet source.


--------------------
"To make this mundane world sublime
Take half a gram of phanerothyme."

Aldous Huxley


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OfflineFuman
Tao of Shrooms

Registered: 11/26/02
Posts: 250
Loc: Further
Last seen: 6 years, 10 months
Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: muhurgle]
    #2146435 - 11/30/03 01:16 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

With 10 Gs of dried mushrooms, most people would feel that they were no longer "in control"
Interesting news. I hope it continues as is.
I think i misread that. it must be 10gs wet, and the guy is just a lightweight.


--------------------
No, I do not think I am above the law. There are times; inspired and enraptured that I feel I am BEYOND the law.


Edited by SporeShur (11/30/03 08:37 PM)


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OfflineDailyPot
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Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 2,207
Loc: Florida
Last seen: 11 years, 9 months
Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Fuman]
    #2150306 - 12/01/03 08:25 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

Thats nice, shrooms have so much myth about them. So far I've only heard good news or at worse concerns, nothing bad has actually happened and with 5,000 people tripping a week it cant be that much of a public health concern :wink:


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OfflineJackal
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Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Sorted]
    #2154318 - 12/03/03 09:33 AM (13 years, 11 months ago)

This kind of trade has been going on for a while. If you check the UK ebay site you will see the kits and fresh shrooms often for sale on there. This has got myself and a few other UK shroomerites pondering....


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OfflineMetaShroom
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Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Jackal]
    #2155648 - 12/03/03 04:54 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

It will be hard for them to change the law without incriminating land owners.


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InvisibleRevelation

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Re: High times in magic mushroom business - UK [Re: Sorted]
    #2174953 - 12/13/03 04:51 PM (13 years, 11 months ago)

A Psyche Deli in the middle of a buzzing metropolis. A welcome sign of the times.


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