Smartshops in Amsterdam: time to rethink?

Smartshop owners in de centre of Amsterdam call for stricter regulation, to stay ahead of a total ban on magic mushrooms. According to the shops, only restriction would be a solution to the problems that the sale of mushrooms brings along.

The sale of mushrooms was called into question in March when a seventeen-years-old French girl jumped from a bridge and died after eating mushrooms. It also appeared that since 2005 the number of tourists that needed first aid after eating mushrooms had increased.

Law offense

“The problem is not the smartshops, but those shops that sell mushrooms without information, along with t-shirts and souvenirs,” so says Guy Boels, president of the National Association of Smartshops (VLOS).

But law is still offended by smartshops as well. The municipality of Amsterdam had two smartshops closed last week. During a check these shops, Innerspace and Magic Mushroom Gallery, turned out to offense the Opium Law. Dried mushrooms which are scheduled as harddrugs (only fresh mushrooms are allowed) and GHB were found.

A ban?

A ban on magic mushrooms was proposed by the ministers of CDA, VVD, PFF and Christian Union; therefore a new study was carried out on the risks and dangers for users and society. The RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and Environment) has now finished the report. It was discussed in the parliament but will be presented to the public after summer. Then also the decision on the future of the magic mushroom will be made.

In 2000 a similar study has been done. Every possible risk of mushroom consumption was proven to be zero or very small, which means fresh mushrooms should not be banned.

VLOS, the National Association of Smartshops, now calls for regulation so that mushrooms will remain legally and safely available. The forthcoming points are proposed to the parliament.

1) No sale to minors.
2) Further professionalisation of the smartshops by means of a course for smartshop owners and staffs.
3) A general mushroom information flyer, in as many languages as possible.
4) Concentration of the sale of mushrooms in specialized professional shops that handle according to the rules, recognizable by a trademark.

With thanks to:

Het Parool
De Volkskrant
VLOS

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