Salvia Divinorum Scotland ~ Media Stories
Saturday November 22, 2003
Nottingham Evening Post
Follow up article from Nottingham Evening Post On-Line www.nottinghameveningpost.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=66030&command=displayContent&sourceNode=65582&contentPK=7919852
'SUMMIT ON DRUGS' PLEA
12:00 - 26 November 2003
The owner of a city-centre shop which sells 'magic mushrooms'
has revealed he may stop selling them.
But Barry McCormack warned that other
less responsible traders could quickly fill any gap in the market.
He now wants to meet representatives from the Home Office,
Notts police, city councillors and local drug-support agencies to discuss the
implications of selling the mushrooms and the wider issue of drug crime in Nottingham.
Mushrooms on sale at Mr McCormack's Ice Nine shop in Hockley can be turned
into a powerful hallucinogenic drug.
A loophole in the law means the shops can sell the mushrooms - which have
a similar effect to LSD - as long as they are in their natural state.
Mr McCormack, a father-of-three, said he had legally sold thousands of 30g
packets of the mushrooms since he began stocking them five months ago.
The 52-year-old, from West Bridgford, said: "I may stop selling the
mushrooms because I'm concerned about how all this publicity could be
affecting the image of my business.
"But other, perhaps less responsible,
traders would take over in no time at all.
"These items are being sold in at least 50 shops
around the UK, if not many more.
"Just about all of them, including us, have been open for many years
and only deal with reputable suppliers.
"A lot of our customers are students and older business people, and
they had been asking us for these items for more than a year before we
started selling them. They had been able to purchase them in other UK cities.
"I do not advocate the taking of any drugs, but any adult has the
right to do what they want with their bodies as long as they behave
responsibly and do not hurt anyone else.
"I want an informed debate with the Home Office, police and other
agencies, not just about the sale of magic mushrooms but also drug crime
"Before I give up selling them, I want the police to tell me what
will happen if I stop and another shop starts selling them. It does not
stop the problem."
Mr McCormack, who moved his business from Leicester to Nottingham in the
early 1980s, only sells the mushrooms to over-18s in 30g packets for £12.99
- with no more than four packets sold to each customer.
A label on the packets says they are only to be
used for education and research.
Mr McCormack added: "Mushroom sales are just one part of my business.
It would not force me to close down if I stopped selling them.
"However, if sales were driven underground. it would add to
drug-related crime in Nottingham."
The Evening Post told on Saturday how, once dried, the mushrooms can be
turned into Class A drugs.
Anyone caught with them faces up to seven years in prison.
Under the law, possession of magic mushrooms is only criminal if they have
ceased to be in their natural state.
If eaten, the mushrooms can cause intense feelings of euphoria, but also
paranoia and fear.
Chief Inspector Ian Bates, of Notts Police Drugs (Partnerships) team, has
warned the public of the criminal consequences of taking the drug.
He said today: "I would welcome a meeting with Mr McCormack as I
think it would take this matter forward.
"Our main focus is on dealing with crack and heroin markets.
"Magic mushrooms can still be made into Class A drugs and we treat
their sale very seriously, but they are so cheap that I can't see street
dealers cashing in and creating a bigger market for them if shops did not
Nottingham trading standards department is investigating the sale of the
mushrooms to see if it contravenes any laws.