Welcome to the Shroomery Message Board! You are experiencing a small sample of what the site has to offer. Please login or register to post messages and view our exclusive members-only content. You'll gain access to additional forums, file attachments, board customizations, encrypted private messages, and much more!
P.S. Here is an old article about what mj said above:
Quote: MAGIC MUSHROOMS SLIP THROUGH JAPAN DRUG LOOPHOLE
TOKYO (Reuters) - In a country known for some of the Western world's toughest drug laws, dealers of hallucinogenic ''magic'' mushrooms brazenly tout their wares in Japan. Sidewalk vendors hawk mind-altering fungi on the streets of Shibuya, Tokyo's hip center of fashion, while magazines run advertisements for Hawaiian toadstools and Peyote cacti. Thanks to a bizarre legal loophole, psychedelic substances have mushroomed into a major money-spinner and stores, known as ''head shops,'' with names such as Herb on Air, Whoopee! and Psychedelic Garden are sprouting up all over the capital. ``You can't be punished for possession. Magic mushrooms are not listed in the drug law,'' a Justice Ministry official said. A Tokyo customs official confirmed the loophole that lets dealers import vegetable matter that would be considered Class A narcotics in many countries. ``The plants themselves aren't illegal. There's no law prohibiting their import.'' In a society not known for recreational drug use, such laxity is the exception to the rule. Even some over-the-counter cold medicines such as Sudafed are routinely seized by Japanese customs officers because of the stimulants they contain. ``Japan is no paradise for druggies, that's for sure,'' said a user of magic mushrooms, who declined to be identified. The 26-year-old office worker described how she painstakingly raised her own magic mushrooms at home using a spore-growing kit imported from Amsterdam.
Zapped With Hair Dryer
``My mushrooms were 10 times better than the stuff you can buy in Shibuya,'' she said. ``That's mostly because the dealers dry them with a hair dryer that effectively zaps most of the psilocybin out.'' Psilocybin, the chemical that gives magic mushrooms their hallucinogenic properties, is specifically outlawed under drug laws, as is mescaline from Mexico's peyote cactus. But unlike hemp, the fungi and cacti themselves get off scot-free. ``If you know it's a magic mushroom and eat it, that's illegal. If you don't know what it is and eat it, that's fine,'' said the branch manager of a head-shop chain who identified himself only as Mr. A. ``It's all right to show and sell them, just not to encourage people to ingest.'' He said about 20 people a day, from junior high school students to retiress, buy mushrooms imported from Europe and Hawaii at his basement bazaar in Tokyo's Shinjuku district. The shop also stocks pipes and books on alternative culture. Dealers know they walk a fine legal line. Police made their first fungus-related arrest in 1998, nabbing a man in the western city of Osaka for selling 2,000 bottles of capsules containing powdered magic mushrooms, worth about $80,000. But putting him in handcuffs took some wrangling. The man was arrested not for hawking hallucinogens but for flouting a law requiring people who sell pharmaceutical products to have a license, said a police spokesman. He had taken out magazine advertisements saying his mushrooms had ``a great effect on sex,'' the spokesman added. The same year, a 19-year-old employee of a Tokyo magic mushroom dealer died of a drug overdose, although it was not clear exactly what drug she had taken. ``Magic mushrooms are essentially poisonous mushrooms,'' said Katsumi Kinoshita, chief of the Health Ministry's Pharmaceutical and Medical Safety Bureau. He declined to say whether the ministry was considering making them illegal. Last month Japanese pop idol and TV star Hideaki Ito, 25, was rushed to a hospital after police found him babbling incoherently in a store, local media said. Ito said he had been given magic mushrooms by a friend without his knowledge.
The incident drew unwelcome publicity for a fledgling industry eager to distance itself from illegal trafficking. ``It's shop policy not to talk to the media,'' said the manager of a Shibuya magic mushroom emporium, declining to answer questions. ``They always paint us in such a bad light.'' Japan's ``yakuza'' organized crime syndicates control the vast majority of narcotics trafficking, and their most lucrative product is amphetamines, popular as a pick-me-up for those with fast-paced lifestyles, police say. ``Rave'' drugs have also become popular. The Osaka customs office reported this year that seizures of ecstasy, a controversial stimulant and mild hallucinogen sometimes called the ``love drug,'' increased almost ninefold in 2000. Perhaps Japan's most high-profile drug bust was in 1980, when former Beatle Paul McCartney was arrested at Tokyo International Airport for possession of 219 grams of marijuana. Held in jail for nine days before being released and deported, he could have faced seven years in prison. ``Japan's drug laws are the way they are because they were forced on us willy-nilly by America after the war,'' said a magic mushroom street dealer. The long-haired vendor said the occupation authorities who gave Japan its new constitution and legal code lumped hard and soft drugs together as dangerous and ''evil'' substances -- although magic mushrooms slipped through. ``In Japan, the people who make the rules don't have a clue,'' Mr. A said. ``To them, it's just fungus.'"