Banning Shrooms

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 27 2008 @ 6:55pm

This has to be one of the more depressing pieces of news in a long time:

The Dutch cabinet has proposed a ban on the sale of all hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms because they could induce life-threatening behaviour. A bill will now pass to the Dutch parliament, where a majority of lawmakers are expected to back a ban after a teenage French girl who had eaten mushrooms died jumping from a bridge in 2007.

So all responsible adults are to be punished because of the actions of a handful of teenagers. The beneficial effects of psilocybin have now been documented extensively. Their responsible usage has led many to spiritual insight and emotional catharsis. They are non-addictive and far less toxic than many legal substances. Yes: they can be abused and some regulation, especially with respect to the young and reckless, is perfectly defensible. But that doesn’t mean something that grows in the ground should thereby be banned for everyone. When even Amsterdam is becoming a center for extinguishing individual freedom, you know our age is getting darker.