by VR Sreeraman on  November 26, 2008 at 12:22 PM General Health News
A body representing Dutch "magic mushroom" vendors sought an urgent court order Tuesday to halt a health ministry ban on the sale of the hallucinogenics pending a final ruling on the issue.

The petition was filed by the vendors' association VLOS at the district court in The Hague which is expected to deliver its verdict on Friday, officials and the group said.

"The minister must reconsider the issue," Paul van Oyen, a spokesman for the association told AFP.

"His decision to ban mushrooms infringes the drugs laws because he is unable to prove the danger they allegedly represent."

The ban introduced by Health Minister Ab Klink and adopted by parliament would stop the sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms from December 1.

Klink believes consumption of the mushrooms, sold in the Netherlands in so-called smart shops, "can lead to unpredictable and risky behaviour".

The death in March last year of a French teenager who had taken mushrooms before jumping to her death from an Amsterdam bridge, reignited the debate over the hallucinogenic fungi.

Though no link had been established between the product and the girl's death, it led a majority of lawmakers to call for a ban.

According to Amsterdam health services, where more than a quarter of the country's smart shops are to be found, more than 90 percent of the 1.5 million to two million doses consumed every year are bought by foreign tourists.

Authorities drew up a list of 186 species of mushrooms whose sale will be banned from December 1. More are expected to follow later.

According to Van Oyen, no investigation had been carried out into the French girl's death "and there is no proof that mushrooms were the cause".

He accused the minister of making his decision on the back of arguments "that are beyond reason".

Source: AFP

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