Revised January 14, 2005, July 29, 2007, October 29, 2007; August 3, 2009; and April 3, 2017.
Copyright 1998-2017 by John W. Allen



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Psilocybe aucklandii Guzmán, King and Bandala

NEWS ARCHIVES

NEW ZEALAND

 
Taranaki Herald
Wednesday May 21, 1982. Page 7

Magic mushroom danger warning.

A North Taranaki Maori property is being besieged by people on the hunt for h a l l u c i n o g e n i c "magic mushrooms." The Wahapakapaka Trust which owns the land says the mushroom pickers are trespassing.

Police say it is not illegal to pick the mushrooms -- apart from the crime of trespass -- but officials from drug prevention agencies say the fungi is dangerous and could be fatal.

Wahapakapaka Trust project co-ordinator Grant Knuckey said the 27ha property near the New Plymouth airport was fenced and had locked gates, but these did not deter enthusiastic pickers. "They just climb over the gates, motorbykes and all." No damage has been done to the prop[erty, but it was the site of an old Maori cemetary which the trust did not want disturbed.

He said pickers were constantly being ordered off the property, but they still kept coming. At weekends there were more than 40 people at one time on the property. Some offenders became angry and obnoxious when asked to leave. The police had been called, but that had not solved anything, ssaid Mr. Knuckey.

New Plymouth-based alcohol and drug abuse field officer Albie Martin said the mushrooms were described as a hallucinogenic drug and when eaten would produce serious side effects. He said it was like setting off a time bimb. Depending on the build and weight of the person eating the mushrooms, the side effects varied. Most common was an instant "high" which put stress on the respitory and heart functions.

DANGEROUS

They were very dangerous he warned. People had died from them. New Plymoouth CIB Detective Senior-Sergeant Bruce Ramsay said the mushrooms were not listed as an illegal drug and nobody could be arrested for the cultivation or picking of them. But if they drove under the influence of the mushrooms they could be arrested.

Trespassers, however, could be fined up to $1000 or jailed, but it was necessary to warn first and then catch them trespassing a second time before anything could be done, said Senior-Sergeant Doug Webby.

 
New Zealand Herald
September 10, 1986
Debate sprouts over fungus.

(NZPA) New Plymouth.
The discovery of mushrooms in an Auckland woman student's handbag has led to a lenghtly legal argument in the New Plymouth District Court.

At issue was weather a mushroom could be classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The student, aged 21, pleaded not guilty to possessing the Class A controlled drug psilocybine, but was found guilty and fined $200 by Judge J. W. Dalmer.

A police witness said he had found a mushroom in the woman's handbag. Analysis showed it to contain psilocybin.

Defencce counsel Mr. Michael Corry, of Auckland, said the mushroom itself was not a prohibited plant. Psilocybin was a Class A controlled drug and substances containing it were also prohibited.

Mr. Corry said that under the act "substances" meant synthetic chemicals and did not include mushrooms.

"The issue is at least ambiguous," he said, adding that the defendent should have the benifit of the doubt.

But Judge Dalmer ruled that a mushroom was a substance and invited prosecutors or defence to test his ruling.
-----------------------------
FOOTNOTE: Two species of mushroom are named under the Misuse of Drugs Act as prohibited plants, but neither grows in New Zealand [Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe mexicana]. But the two drugs psilocine and psilocybine, are named as Class A controlled drugs.

A scientist in the drugs and alcohol section of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr. Graeme Sutherland, said these drugs were found in mushroom species that did grow in New Zealand, the the mushrooms were not named in the act. If eaten, the mushrooms produce hallucinations.

Dr. Sutherland said the mushrooms bore no resemblance to the large, fleshy fungus bought in shops or found wild, and "you or I would not consider picking these things to eat."

Dr. Sutherland said he was aware of the pilgrimages made by those in the drug scene to areas around New Plymouth and parts of the Otago to gather these mushrooms.

It was up to the courts to decide if people gathering or possessing these mushrooms were after the drug, or just collecting them because they might be good to eat.



 
New Zealand Herald
Friday August 11, 1989

Drugs taken for better outlook.


A 22-year-old man told police he enjooyed taking the drug contained in "magic mushrooms" because it gave him a better outlook on life.

Tony Davren Ford, unemployed, of Kelston, appeared in the Auckland Disctrict Court yesterday and admitted possessing psilocybin, a class A controlled drug.

Judge J. W. Imrie convicted and remanded Ford on bail until September 14 for a probation report and sentence.

Sergeant Huon Watt said 120g of "magic mushrooms" were found by police at Ford's adress on June 21.

The mushrooms containing psilocybin, were scattered throughout the house. Some were packaged in plastic bags while others were found drying on newspaper in his bedroom.
Ford told the police that he and his friends enjoyed using the drug and that it gave him a better outlook.





 


© 2002 by Russ Kick. Artwork © 2002 by Nick Bougas

Censorship In Paradise:

New Zealand Thought Police Seize Books From Loompanics

by
Russ Kick

In 1997, Loompanics published The New Zealand Immigration Guide, which spoke very highly of the beautiful, secluded island-nation. Apparently, New Zealand will not be returning the compliment.

The government of New Zealand has decided that publications from Loompanics are not welcome in the country, and it's currently persecuting a married couple for the “crime” of ordering some books.

   The government of New Zealand has decided that publications from Loompanics are not welcome in the country, and it's currently persecuting a married couple for the “crime” of ordering some books.

   New Zealand has a lot of things going for it. Located southeast of Australia, it enjoys a temperate climate and by all accounts, is one of the most gorgeous spots on earth. Comprised of two main islands and some smaller ones, it's total land area is about equal to Colorado, with 9,400 miles of coast. The population is approximately 3.9 million, with a stunning 99 percent literacy rate. Its economy is robust, and military spending is only 1.1 percent of the GDP (the figure for the U.S. is 3.2 percent). New Zealand pretty much keeps to itself. You don't hear very much about it, with the major exceptions of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Russell Crowe, both products of this other land down under. For someone looking to get away from it all, New Zealand is pretty tempting.

   Except for one thing. It doesn't have a great track record when it comes to civil liberties for its citizens. This isn't too surprising, considering that, like Canada, New Zealand used to be a part of the British Empire. (Not that the U.S. is anywhere close to perfect, but at least we have recourse and codified protections.) It declared independence in 1907 and now has a parliamentary democracy, but its people are still subject to national controls that would be (and are) fought against in the US.

   Many types of guns are legal, but strict licensing is the law. Movies must be approved by a government body before they can be released. Books aren't subject to that level of suppression, but the situation is still ugly. You see, New Zealand has a governmental agency called the Office of Film and Literature Classification, created by a 1993 law which unified the previous three agencies in charge of suppressing various media. Although the Office's name is classic Orwellian doublespeak, the title of the agency's head is hilariously forthright: Chief Censor of Film and Literature. That position is currently held by a lawyer from (where else?) Canada.

   The Office leaves no stone unturned in its search for deviance and subversion: Among the media it “classifies” are “films, videos, magazines, computer discs, video games, CD-ROMs, printed clothing [e.g., tee-shirts], posters, sound recordings and playing cards.” According to the agency's Website:

   “Each time the Classification Office makes a classification decision it must consider whether the availability of that particular publication is likely to be injurious to the public good. In doing so, the Classification Office must also consider the dominant effect of the whole publication, impact of the medium of the publication, character of the publication, intended audience for the publication, purpose of the publication. Under the Classification Act, the Classification Office is deemed to exercise expert judgment when making these decisions.”

   The criteria used by the Office to ban material include “acts of torture,” “sexual violence or sexual coercion,” “sexual conduct with or by children,” and “promotes or encourages criminal acts or acts of terrorism.” Some of the most ominous no-nos are:

   “degrades or dehumanises or demeans any person” and

   “represents that members of any particular class of the public are inherently inferior to other members of the public by reason of any characteristic of members of that class being a characteristic that is a prohibited ground of discrimination specified in the Human Rights Act 1993.”

   Moving images (i.e., movies and video games) are the only form of media that must be viewed, judged, and labeled before being (hopefully) released to the public. All others can be released without passing through the censorship process, although the Office warns: “However, these publications must still comply with the law. In this case, the onus of responsibility rests on the person who intends to supply a publication to ensure that he or she is supplying it appropriately. As one option, a person can choose to submit the publication for classification” [emphasis mine].

   In other words, guilty until proven innocent. Or, in this case, a book is assumed to be objectionable until the publisher or bookseller can prove that it's safe for the populace. Although written material doesn't have to be classified before being released, any government body or private citizen can request that a publication be reviewed. Many retailers try to avoid hassles by labeling their books in advance, which usually involves putting warning stickers on them (much like the music industry “voluntarily” does with records in the U.S.).

   During the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the Office banned four books. It also classified four others, five magazines, and one booklet as R18, meaning that no one under 18 may buy, possess, or even look at them. The number of books banned undoubtedly will be higher in 2001-2 fiscal year, if the case of John and Daniela Setters is any indication.

Married Couple Raided for Books

   The Setters are a married couple living in Mount Maunganui, a town of about 14,000 people located on the coast of northern New Zealand. Through the Websites of Loompanics www.loompanics.com and the Dope Fiends.com Bookshop www.dopefiends.com, they ordered several books on drugs. Their first two orders – one from each bookseller – made it to them unscathed.

   Their third, fateful order was to Loompanics for Psychedelic Chemistry by Michael Valentine Smith. But that package isn't what showed up on their doorstep. On February 1, 2002, at 6:30 in the morning, five Customs officers climbed the front gate and pounded on the Setters' door. Once inside, the kiwi feds searched the place. “When we asked what was the reason for the search warrant,” John says, “the one in charge asked us if we knew a company called 'Loompanics' (apparently well known by New Zealand Customs) and mentioned the book Psychedelic Chemistry, ordered in my name, as the cause for the raid.”

   The agents seized the following books from the Setters:

   The Big Book of Buds: Marijuana Varieties From the World's Great Seed Breeders by Ed Rosenthal (Quick American Archives)

   The Big Book of Secret Hiding Places by Jack Luger (Breakout Productions)

   The Construction and Operation of Clandestine Drug Laboratories by Jack B. Nimble (Loompanics)

   Magic Mushrooms Around the World: A Scientific Journey Across Cultures and Time by Jochen Gartz (Luna Information Services)

   Opium for the Masses by Jim Hogshire (Loompanics)

   Peyote: And Other Psychoactive Cacti by Adam Gottlieb (Ronin Publishing)

   Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide by O.T. Oss and O.N. Oeric (Quick American Archives)

   Aside from Psilocybin, none of these books has been classified by the Chief Censor, but the Customs agents considered them “likely to be objectionable.” This was obviously enough to justify the seizure of these books and harassment of the Setters.

   The agents also snatched some issues of Cannabis Culture magazine, which is legal, surprisingly enough; a vaporizer, a device for inhaling the active compounds from “herbs”; the Setters' laptop computer; and three pot plants, which were basically treated as no big deal. For possession of cannabis, John paid a mere $350 fine (that's New Zealand dollars; in US currency, the fine was $155). It would appear that the Setters are in much more trouble with the State for the books they read than for the marijuana they owned. (Interesting side note: Although the authorities seized three pot plants, Daniela says that when the evidence was presented in court, it had mysteriously shrunk to two plants. This commonly happens to drugs that are seized.)

   The feds kept the Setters' computer for a month, rifling its hard drive for more forbidden info. They undoubtedly never would've given it back had the Setters not hired one of the country's top lawyers, Paul Mabey, to handle the matter. Revealing a staggering lack of work duties, rather than being shipped via UPS, the computer was returned by the agent in charge of the operation, who had to drive seven hours from Auckland to deliver the laptop. The round trip obviously took two entire work days, but Customs inspectors appear to have a lot of time on their hands. Daniela reports that when she asked if she and John were actually going to be prosecuted over some books, the agent said, “Well, since we had to come all the way out here....”

   Singled out as particularly "disturbing and dangerous" was How To Steal Food From the Supermarket.

   But the fun didn't end there. For two months after the raid, the authorities opened all of the Setters' mail from overseas, seizing none other than the Loompanics catalog itself. Daniela and John were told that the catalog “contains some books that are 'objectionable'.” Singled out as particularly “disturbing and dangerous” was How to Steal Food in the Supermarket by J. Andrew Anderson (Loompanics).

   As Daniela sums up their unfortunate lesson in government power: “We thought such deprivation of freedom of information only still occurs in communist, Muslim, and Third World countries, but we were so bloody wrong!”

What Next?

   As this article goes to press, John is waiting to hear from the Customs agency. When they get around to it, they'll demand that he show up at the time and place of their choosing and answer all questions to their “satisfaction.” He has no right to remain silent or otherwise avoid possible self-incrimination.

   As this article goes to press, John is waiting to hear from the Customs agency. When they get around to it, they'll demand that he show up at the time and place of their choosing and answer all questions to their “satisfaction.” He has no right to remain silent or otherwise avoid possible self-incrimination.

   Afterwards, the government will decide whether to press charges. If they prosecute, John is looking at a $2,000 fine (U.S. $893) per book. This could result in a grand total of U.S. $7,144 for the eight books. It could be U.S. $8,037 if they nail him for the Loompanics catalog, too.

   Perhaps John should be thankful that he only bought the books, rather than sold them. Under kiwi law, people involved in the commercial trade of “objectionable” books face not only the fines but also one year in prison for each book sold. I think we can safely guess one country where Mike Hoy, Gia Cosindas, and the rest of the Loompanics crew will not be moving anytime soon.

   Perhaps John should be thankful that he only bought the books, rather than sold them. Under kiwi law, people involved in the commercial trade of “objectionable” books face not only the fines but also one year in prison for each book sold.

Upside Down in More Ways Than One

   Let's emphasize one of the lessons we've learned about New Zealand: If you get caught with three marijuana plants, you will pay a $350 fine. If you get caught with three books about marijuana, you will pay a $6,000 fine. Kiwi tokers, if they're prudent, may want to stick to just smoking the stuff rather than reading about it.

   The Thought Police in New Zealand have their heads up their asses. No matter how balmy and beautiful the locale, this is the preferred position for all censors.

   As if all this weren't twisted enough, it should be noted that although the magazines High Times, Cannabis Culture, and Heads are all legally on sale in New Zealand, books about illegal drugs are verboten. (It was through ads in these magazines that the Setters found out about Loompanics and Dope Fiends.) This is a bizarre switch, since books typically enjoy more free-speech protection than periodicals. It's more proof that, like their brethren elsewhere, the Thought Police in New Zealand have their heads up their asses. No matter how balmy and beautiful the locale, this is the preferred position for all censors.
Russ Kick is the editor of Everything You Know Is Wrong, You Are Being Lied To, and other books.

Loompanics Unlimited
2002 Winter Supplement



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NZ News

Home NZ News

Dated 8-17-2004 but above said 01-05-2004.
The New Zealand Herald

Nothing magic in nightmare trip

Young Argentine Noe Caffesse sat last night with legs crossed on his Timaru Hospital bed, lips and teeth stained black from drinking charcoal - a souvenir from his less-than-magical trip.

For 36 hours the 19-year-old cleaner and barman lay unconscious in bush near Lake Tekapo after eating three poisonous toadstools - which he had mistaken for hallucinogenic magic mushrooms.

He found the mushrooms near Mt John, but as soon as he took them he started to feel "strange".

He then became disoriented and said the last thing he remembered was falling over.

"When I woke up, I felt really sick so I started walking home."

Police and volunteers searched for him on Thursday but he was found asleep in his room at 6.30am on Friday. Mr Caffesse said despite having no food or water for two days he was feeling fine after taking charcoal to absorb the poison.

National Poisons Centre medical toxicologist Dr Michael Beasley said Mr Caffesse probably took a species called Amanita muscaria - "Satan's mushroom" .

"It causes central nervous system depression. It causes general drowsiness which in severe form can go into deep sleep and coma."

NZPA





 

http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=269269

 

25 May 2007

 

NZ woman dies from magic mushrooms

Friday May 25 10:28 AEST

A New Zealand woman has died after eating magic mushrooms, police in the North Island said.

Senior Sergeant Marcus Lynam, of Hamilton police, said the 23-year-old died at 10pm (2000 AEST) on Thursday after consuming "a quantity" of magic mushrooms.

He warned the public of the dangers of the mushrooms, which contain an active ingredient classified as an illegal class A controlled drug.

the compounds in the mushrooms were psychedelics and caused hallucinations and possibly paranoia. They can induce a "bad trip" and can be fatal.


"Under no circumstances should magic mushrooms be consumed," he said.

Sen Sgt Lynam said there was also danger in consuming any unknown wild mushroom.

Investigations were continuing to determine the exact cause of the woman's death and the matter had been referred to the coroner.

Police do not intend to release the woman's name.


©AAP 2007

National Nine News.





 

<a href="psiloref89.html">Lee, Cole & Linacre</a>, 2000b.<br>

 

TelstraClear – Now’s Good.

 

Fri, 25 May 2007, 11:18 AM

 

Woman dies after eating magic mushrooms

A Hamilton woman is dead after eating magic mushrooms.

Police say the 23-year-old died late last night. The case has been referred to the coroner.

The active ingredient in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, is classified as an illegal class A drug. It has effects similar to LSD.

© 2007 Newstalk ZB News.






 

STUFF.co.nz

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/4072664a10.html

 

Friday, May 25, 2007:

 

Woman dies after eating magic mushrooms

NZPA | Friday, 25 May 2007

 

Senior Sergeant Marcus Lynam, of Hamilton police, said the woman died at 10pm yesterday after consuming "a quantity" of magic mushrooms.

He warned the public of the dangers of the mushrooms, which contain an active ingredient classified as an illegal class A controlled drug.

The compounds in the mushrooms were psychedelics and caused a loss of reality and possibly paranoia. They can induce a "bad trip" and can be fatal.

"Under no circumstances should magic mushrooms be consumed," he said.

Mr Lynam said there was also danger in consuming any unknown wild mushroom.

Investigations were continuing to determine the exact cause of the woman's death and the matter had been referred to the coroner.

Police do not intend to release the woman's name.





 

New Zealand 8-1-2007-1

 


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10455135

Murder accused was elsewhere eating magic mushrooms - defence
5:55PM Wednesday August 01, 2007
By David Eames

At the time German backpacker Birgit Brauer was being murdered the man police say killed her was elsewhere picnicking on magic mushrooms, his lawyer said this afternoon.

Michael Scott Wallace has been on trial in the High Court at New Plymouth charged with murdering the 28-year-old at Lucy's Gully, southwest of New Plymouth, on September 20, 2005.

The 46-year-old is denying the charges.

In her closing address to the jury defence counsel Susan Hughes QC said there was no unequivocal evidence which pointed to Wallace being guilty.

"He is the victim of a coincidence."

Ms Hughes said the crown had likened the case to a jigsaw puzzle and she said to complete that puzzle there needed to be four corners in place to set a framework - the vehicle, the place, the weapon and the timing.

On the timing issue she said defence witness Richard Baird saw Ms Brauer at Oakura around 3pm and at this time Wallace was in Oakura where witnesses said he appeared to be having a picnic.

He was in fact consuming magic mushrooms he'd gathered.

She said if Wallace had killed Ms Brauer it would be common sense to get as far away from the scene as possible, not go to a place 45 minutes drive away and chat to people.

"You would seek to be inconspicuous, you would seek to be invisible."

She suggested Wallace, who was a bit of a "gypsy" came across Ms Brauer's belongings later after they'd been dumped by her attacker at Lake Rotokare and rummaged through them like a "magpie", leaving a fingerprint on Ms Brauer's address book.

As to Lucy's Gully Ms Hughes said nobody who was familiar with the place - as Wallace was - would go there expecting to carry out an uninterrupted rape or attack as it was busy and popular.

In just a ten minute period on September 20 the court was told of three vehicles being there.

"Not the place to beat someone insensible on the roadway".

Ms Hughes said things Wallace said to police could be seen as "the ramblings of a stoner, coming down off a bender".

He had been roaming around getting magic mushrooms, which was illegal, and ran from the police when he heard he was a murder suspect.

"At no time did he admit that he was the murderer".

Earlier, Crown prosecutor Tim Brewer said jurors must answer one fundamental question: was it Michael Scott Wallace who murdered German backpacker Birgit Brauer.

Mr Brewer said the case against Wallace could be broken into four categories: sightings of the accused in the Taranaki region, the grouping of Miss Brauer's belongings, scientific evidence against Wallace, and what he allegedly told police after his arrest.

No piece of evidence, in isolation, was enough to convict Wallace, but the "totality" of the evidence could.

"All the evidence that has been given to you, you might think, has been given to you by honest people doing their best to remember events that didn't seem particularly important to them at the time, but which they were asked to remember later.

"Memories of that sort will inevitably have fuzzy edges."

Mr Brewer said blood on the road at Lucy's Gully showed Wallace had attacked Miss Brauer at the roadside, then dragged her, still alive, into the bush.

The injuries inflicted on the side of the road would in themselves have been fatal, the jury heard earlier in the trial.

Mr Brewer said Wallace stabbed Miss Brauer once through the heart after he was disturbed by the sound of New Plymouth man Colin Boon's vehicle at Lucy's Gully.

Mr Boon told the court in the first week of trial that he saw a vehicle matching that driven by Wallace around the time police say Miss Brauer was killed.

Mr Brewer told the court Wallace had been spotted at Cardiff, near Stratford, in the hours after the killing and an iron bar allegedly used to bash Miss Brauer was found in the area.

An iron bar of the same type was "associated" with Wallace's Toyota Hilux Surf vehicle, Mr Brewer told the court.

However, for the defence, Ms Hughes said there was nothing linking it to Wallace or his vehicle.

"There are thousands of these bars," she said.

She said there was no forensic evidence linking Ms Brauer to the vehicle - no blood, no fingerprints, no hair and no fibres - and the logical explanation was that she had never been in it.

As none of Ms Brauer's blood was in the vehicle Wallace could not have attacked her elsewhere then taken her there, Ms Hughes said.

Other of Miss Brauer's belongings were found at Cardiff, including her cellphone battery.

Records show a final text message was sent to her phone about 4.08pm, hours after her death.

That message was routed through the cell phone transmitter near Cardiff, the court heard.

The telephone was dismantled at 5.37pm on September 20, Mr Brewer said.

Witnesses gave evidence of seeing a vehicle matching Wallace's in the area about the same time.

"The killer dismantled that phone. He did so behind the pump shed at Cardiff. Whose Toyota Hilux Surf was backed up against the pump shed at that time? It was the accused," Mr Brewer said.

Ms Hughes questioned the witness sightings and reminded the jury at the time of the killing there were more than 9000 Toyota Hiluxs matching its general description on New Zealand roads.

She said the witnesses were honest, but were honestly mistaken.

Justice Mark Cooper will sum up the case for the jury tomorrow before it retires to consider its verdict.

- With NZPA





 
Auckland News on stuff.co.nz
Friday, May 30, 2008

Magic mushrooms found in schools

North Shore Times Friday 30, May 2008

North Shore police are warning of the risks of magic mushrooms after a 17-year-old student was arrested for the possession of the class A controlled drug.

Area commander inspector Les Paterson says police know magic mushrooms have been supplied to pupils of at least one local college.

"We are working with schools to stop it. I understand youthful curiosity, so I’m appealing to parents and teachers to keep an eye out."

He says supplying the mushrooms to another person is a very serious criminal offence.

"A conviction would prevent most overseas travel and limit employment prospects."

At this time of year the mushrooms are found growing wild, Mr Paterson says

He says the small blue meanies and golden top mushrooms contain hallucinogenic chemicals.

"They have a powerful mind-altering effect similar to LSD that lasts four to six hours," he says.

Every year there are cases of poisoning from the look-alikes, many of which are toxic – especially the deathcap mushroom, he says.

He says this has been a bumper season and depending on the weather it should end later next month.



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