October 27, 2007 / 3:03 PM / 12 years ago

Dutch protesters make bid to save "magic mushrooms"

People protest against a planned ban on all hallucinogenic "magic" mushrooms by the government on Dam square in Amsterdam October 27, 2007. REUTERS/Koen van Weel

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Protesters turned out on Amsterdam’s central Dam Square on Saturday, hoping to stop the government from banning magic mushrooms and asking to “save the ‘shrooms”.

Carrying banners reading “When will they ban bread?” and “Boss of your own brain”, more than 100 people, some wearing hats resembling the bright red cap of the popular fly agaric variety, protested to keep hallucinogenic mushrooms legal.

After several incidents involving tourists — in March, a French teenager jumped to her death from a bridge after taking mushrooms — the Dutch government plans to ban them.

Arno Adelaars, author of a book on magic mushrooms, said this would only drive users underground and what was needed instead was better information how to use mushrooms right.

“It’s only foreigners who have this problem, the Dutch don’t because they have good information,” he said.

“Amsterdam is like a pilgrimage for youngsters in Europe, they come here to get high in all kinds of ways.

“The typical young tourist that comes here drinks an awful lot of beer, smokes an awful lot of grass, and then takes mushrooms. That’s the recipe for disaster.”

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