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POLICE seized more than half a kilogram of magic mushrooms from shops in the Capital on the day that new laws turned them into Class A drugs.
Officers raided two businesses in Southside and Tollcross on Monday, hours after the Drugs Act 2005 came into force. No arrests were made, but the mushrooms were taken away for tests and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal who will decide whether to press charges.
Today, police revealed the mushrooms contained psilocybin, which is now illegal. Supplying, possessing or importing the mushrooms can lead to a custodial sentence. A police spokeswoman said: "Up until recently there were a number of shops in Edinburgh that imported and sold magic mushrooms. They are usually eaten raw or dried out and can produce a hallucinogenic effect similar to LSD.
"From Monday, following reclassification, magic mushrooms became a Class A drug and for people to possess or sell them is now a criminal offence. Most shop owners selling the mushrooms were aware of this change and it is as a result of information that some were still offering psilocybin products for sale that officers from Lothian and Borders drugs squad took action.
"As a result of the operation, more than half a kilo of mushrooms were seized."
Police refused to name the stores which were raided. Shops across the country have had to act quickly following the reclassification. A growing number of people were taking mushrooms before they became illegal, a demand mostly met by traders.
More than 250,000 16-59-year-olds in the UK used them between 2003 and 2004, a 40 per cent leap on the previous year.
But now anyone caught buying, selling or possessing mushrooms could face jail after the Government put them into the same class as heroin and cocaine. Supporters claim that they are harmless and have warned that drug dealers will now benefit as users turn to them for supplies rather than to previously legitimate traders.
Alan Myerthall, who owns the Pipe Shop, in Leith Walk, was among them but made sure he had got rid of his stock by the time the new law came into force.
The tobacconist said: "The police were perfectly entitled to raid shops on Monday. Everyone was given plenty of notice. No-one can say they didn't know.
"We don't break the law, we comply with the law, so we made sure we were sold out.
"And as long as they are illegal we won't sell them. It's hard lines as they were good business but there's nothing we can do about it."
Quote: motaman said: on the day that new laws turned them into Class A drugs.
Maybe the shops hadn't even heard that they were illegal.. it's not like anyone's been officially told. They must have been planning it in advance aswell.. just screwing them to make examples of people. Most likely they were fresh so a huge 500g bust I expect many people here have had flushes bigger than that..