Press release of the Association Legalize!
Amsterdam, May 23 2008
With a symbolic protest action throughout the Netherlands, the association Legalize! has acted against the announcement of Public Health Minister Ab Klink to prohibit 168 different species of magic mushrooms (paddo’s). The association wants to raise attention for the risk of persecution that owners of gardens or lands now run into, as a consequence of the ban. A team of Legalize! symbolically planted some paddo’s in the houses of stand-up comedian Theo Maassen and singer Henk Westbroek. Members of Parliament Fred Teeven (right-wing liberals, VVD) and Lea Bouwmeester (social-democrats, PVDA) received some paddo’s in a flower pot. With the help of supersoaker water pistols, billions of paddo-spores were spread in the Netherlands.
The announced ban threatens to affect 168 species. These are not only magic mushrooms, but also 150 other species. Many of the banned paddo’s grow freely throughout the Netherlands, and can appear in anybody’s garden. Among others the possession, the cultivation and the sale of these paddo’s will become illegal, with prison sentences till up to 6 years. The change of the law creates an unsustainable situation, in which citizens, companies and organisations are outlawed.
To raise public attention to this absurd situation, the association Legalize! carried out some actions this week under the title: ‘A ban on paddo’s is insane’.
Activists of Legalize! and TV-anchorman Fillemon Wesselink (BNN-TV) together with author Hans Plomp visited the gardens of stand-up comedian Theo Maassen, as well as politician and singer Henk Westbroek. Paddo-spores’s were spread in the gardens with waterpistols. The spores were also spread in the gardens of the ministeries of Public Health and of Agriculture, as well as in the gardens of the seat of the Dutch Parliament and Government, the “Binnenhof” in the Hague. At the end of the day, the activists spread billions of paddospores throughout the Netherlands out from an air balloon.
Within a week, the 168 species will be banned if Minister of Public Health Klink (Christian-democrats, CDA) can give a satisfactory answer on questions of members of the Dutch Parliament. The minister has already ignored the advises of different experts, such as the Association of Dutch Municipalities and the Office for Research and Expenses of the State. Four ministerial advisory committees and various scientific and social organisations have informed the minister that a ban on paddo’s will probably increase the health risks.
The association Legalize! is outraged by the fact that minister Klink ignores all scientific advise and completely goes his own way. Klink has turned around the conclusions of his own civil servants and the only controlling body (BOR) has protested against his decision, but the minister remains determined.
Minister Ab Klink was not willing to comment the ban on paddo’s.
“With a ban on 168 species, in the fall the entiore forest is illegal. Even the famous “red with white spots” is banned now. It has become an extreme witch hunt” according to Hans Plomp, author of the book “Uit je bol”.
“In the fall, there are mushrooms everywhere in my garden” said Henk Westboek. “Do I now have to fear a raid of the paddo police? Paddo’s are growing even on the pitch in the stadium of FC Utrecht, should the stadium also be banned now? I cannot stand this moralist stuff. In my student days I used to go and pick myself, but I don’t do that anymore.”
“Paddo’s are really important for me, I wish to be able to consume them a few times a year.” said Theo Maassen. “I will try to get them even if they are illegal. If it becomes illegal people will continue to consume, but they will not get them from a nice guy who gives them good information. Maybe we will see worse problems. I do not think that the state should prohibit me to put anything in my mouth.”
“Small children who walk in the forest with a mushroom, will they soon be persecuted?” is the comment of Lea Bouwmeester (PVDA) on the ban. “In fact Klink is extremely liberal. But Hirsch Ballin (Minister of Justice, CDA) is the really powerful man inside the party. He would like to install one ban after the other. He is really happy with this ban. Also Klink has thought very long about it and first he did not want to ban at all. But then you get all sorts of political deals on all sorts of subjects.”
Legalize! is, just like a considerable minority in the Dutch Parliament, in favour of continuing to regulate paddo’s. It is desirable to install a license system. The association has major objections against the sale of paddo’s in ordinary tourist shops in Amsterdam without any form of information. Legalize! emphasises that the small number of – regrettable – incidents were limited to foreign tourists in the capital and that almost no incidents with paddo’s have been reported in the rest of the Netherlands.
On Sunday May 25th the BNN programme Spuiten en slikken (TV Nederland 3) will send images of the actions.
The association will carry out more actions with various Dutch celebrities and politicians. There are possibilities for journalists and photographers to attend these actions.
Foto’s: Derrick Bergman / G0NZ0 Media
For more pictures see Drugs Forum
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