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Shopkeeper Steve Purchase, aka Perch. He?s vowed to fight change in law
A SHOPKEEPER who can no longer sell magic mushrooms may soon be stocking a drug similar to speed.
Steve Purchase, known as Perch, is looking at importing khat from Africa.
Before new laws were introduced last month, fresh hallucinogenic mushrooms could be sold legally, but those dried or prepared for use could not.
But the Drugs Act 2005 has made all types of magic mushroom a class A drug and means the fresh variety can no longer be sold.
Perch, who owns Kastaways in Wigmores South, WGC, said: "The loophole allowed me to sell fresh mushrooms that hadn't been treated in any way because basically you could go out into any field and pick them yourself."
Perch said he imposed his own rules to restrict their sale.
"People were under the wrong impression that kids were buying them, but we had strict guidelines," he said
"We didn't advertise the fact that we were selling them and we didn't sell them to anyone under 18."
Perch has vowed to fight the decision to ban the sale of all magic mushrooms, including fresh, dried and packaged.
"Within the retail industry we have all paid into a fund to try and get the law changed," he said. "We have barristers working on our case."
In the meantime Perch is embarking on another venture.
He told the WHT: "I am looking at importing khat."
The police have likened the effects of taking the drug to amphetamines such as speed.
A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: "Fresh khat leaves contain the psychoactive compounds cathinone and cathin, both of which stimulate the central nervous system.
"The effect of taking it is similar to amphetamine."
The ambulance service is advising people not to buy khat because of "nasty effects" on the body.
A spokesman for Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Ambulance Paramedic Service NHS Trust said: "Common side effects include hyperthermia, high blood pressure, anorexia, insomnia, aggressive behaviour and hallucinations."
Khat is illegal in the USA, but there are currently no plans to prevent its sale across the UK.