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'Magic mushrooms' banned in UK on sale in Irish shops July 31, 2005 - timesonline.co.uk
Hallucinogenic mushrooms, which were this month classified as class A drugs alongside heroin and cocaine in Britain, are on sale openly in Irish shops.
The so-called magic mushrooms contain the chemical psilocin which has a hallucinogenic affect when ingested. Although there has been a long-standing ban on dry or packaged magic mushrooms, it is still legal to possess or sell them in fresh form in the republic. The British government closed this loophole earlier this month, but in Ireland the sale of the mushrooms is still legal.
A spokesman for the Head Shop in Dublin's Temple Bar, which sells a growing number of magic mushrooms imported from mainland Europe, said: "The change in the UK has really been driven by press scaremongering rather than health concerns. What has been said is nonsense.
We sell the mushrooms at a euro a gramme and we have had no complaints of harmful effects by any of our customers, who are of all ages and from the rich to poor."
The Head Shop is one of two in Dublin selling the mushrooms. In Britain, more than 400 shops sold the mushrooms.
The Dublin retailer said banning the fungi could prove more damaging in the long run. "This is relatively new to Dublin but it's the sensible approach for these to be sold within the law, otherwise people run the risk of eating the wrong mushrooms." he said.
Brian Galvin, senior information specialist at the National Documentation Centre on Drug Use, said: "When people seek treatment for drug use of any kind, use of magic mushrooms is recorded. However, it does not feature significantly in treatment data. People may be using magic mushrooms, but it does not appear to be the primary reason people seek treatment."
A 2003 Drug Prevalence study found that, across Ireland, magic mushrooms were the second most-used drug, with 4% of the population saying they had used them at some time in their life. This compared with 18% who had tried cannabis.
A native variety of the mushroom has long been collected and consumed in Ireland. Growing in damp fields, the mushrooms are most prevalent in early autumn and are believed to have been used by druids and mixed with tea by generations of adventurous rural dwellers.
The hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms, or 'shrooms', gained widespread popularity in the 1960s, when they became an essential part of hippie culture, alongside LSD and cannabis.
A spokesman for the Department of Health said there were currently no plans to change the Irish law.
"We sell the mushrooms at a euro a gramme" they sell mexicana stones 15g for ?15 and 20g of fresh cubes for ?20, pity you can't just get 1g fresh, as I could have a nice clone for ?1. They do a roaring trade, I was in the shop for about 5mins one saturday and about ?150 changed hands. They sell kits but no syringes or prints.
I am worried others will see how much money they are making and they will start selling them everywhere. Then some kid gets off their face, hits the paper, then the law changes...