|A section devoted to newspaper clippings, unusual articles and some psilocybian mushroom trivia|
|Hello and welcome to our News archives. In this section you will find
a wide variety of newspaper clippings regarding the visionary mushrooms.
I Started to catalogue these clippings back in 1973.
They are arranged alphabetically by countries and newspapers and then Chronologically by dates.
|Man pleads innocent in mushroom case
By Emily Stone
Free Press Staff Writer
Jan 24, 2003
A 21-year-old man pleaded innocent Monday to three misdemeanor charges of drug possession after police allegedly found cocaine, marijuana and about 450 chocolates containing hallucinogenic mushrooms at his apartment.
Nicholas Lohr, a University of Vermont sophomore from Massachusetts, is being held in lieu of $15,000 bail. He was arrested Saturday after police came to his Williams Street apartment because Lohr was having a drug overdose. Police also found about $4,800 cash in Lohr's bedroom, according to court papers.
Prosecutor Carolyn Hanson said she wished she could have charged Lohr with a felony because of the amount of mushrooms, but is not able to do so under state law. She said the state statutes are written in a way that gives her no flexibility in charging for certain types of drug possession.
"It's very frustrating to us," Hanson said in Vermont District Court in Burlington.
The statute for possession of a hallucinogen states that a person can be charged with felony possession if he or she has more than 10 "doses" of the drug. The penalties go up as the number of doses increase. The catch is that there is no state definition of a dose.
The Department of Health is charged with defining a dose for a wide range of drugs. There is no way to easily classify a dose of mushrooms, because the potency of individual mushrooms vary greatly, said state toxicologist Bill Bress.
The solution, Hanson said, would be to increase penalties based on the weight of the drugs seized, as is done with heroin and cocaine.
Similar problems exist for other drugs, including depressants and stimulants. The heads of the Senate and House judiciary committees said Monday the statutes will likely be addressed during this legislative session.
Hanson said she will seek jail time for Lohr. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 2 years in prison and a $4,500 fine for the three charges.
Hanson also asked for the $15,000 bail, which is high for a misdemeanor charge. Judge Ben Joseph agreed to the bail.
"One can only assume from reading the affidavit that he's in business," Joseph said.
Police arrived at Lohr's apartment around 1 p.m. Saturday after his roommate called for help because Lohr was having a drug overdose, according to court papers written by Burlington Detective Steve Dumas.
Lohr was not breathing when police arrived and was revived by paramedics, who took him to the hospital, Dumas wrote.
Lohr was later interviewed by Dumas at the hospital. He said he had done a line of cocaine, snorted an OxyContin pill and ate two chocolates containing mushrooms. Lohr's roommate, Ian Koch, told police that he took a small bag of cocaine off Lohr's body before police arrived, according to court papers.
Police searched the apartment with a drug dog. They found a small amount of marijuana in the living room, according to the court papers. They opened a safe in Lohr's bedroom closet and found several small bags containing a white powdery substance, $4,840 in cash and a scale.
Police also found a duffel bag in Lohr's bedroom, according to the papers. The bag held the chocolate-covered mushrooms individually wrapped in tinfoil. Lohr told Dumas he made the mushrooms, according to court papers.
Police searched Koch's room and found 25 OxyContin pills. Dumas said he is planning to cite Koch today for possession of the pills. Koch, when reached at home, said someone gave him the pills and he was unaware that they were OxyContin, a prescription opiate.
"I didn't even know what they were," he said. He said he was not selling them, nor had he used any.
Hanson said this is not the first time she has been frustrated by the drug statutes.
A similar problem exists for depressants, stimulants and some other narcotics. Charges for possession of those drugs increase if a person is caught with more than the "therapeutic dosage" of the drug. The problem is that some drugs have no set therapeutic dose.
Rep. Peg Flory, R-Pittsford, is the chairwoman of the House Judiciary Committee. She said the committee had preliminary discussions on these problems during the last session, but did not get far enough along to propose a bill.
"It is a problem that we're aware of and I expect we will address it this year," she said.
Sen. Richard Sears, D-Bennington, said he was not aware of the specific problem with the hallucinogen statute, but said the Judiciary Committee could address that issue when looking at other drug laws this session. Sears is chairman of the committee.
Hanson, Flory and Sears mentioned another drug statute that they hope to change. The prescription fraud law does not allow prosecutors to charge a person who has legally been prescribed a prescription drug and then sells it to others.
Flory and Sears said they plan to look at changing that statute this session.
Contact Emily Stone at 660-1898 or firstname.lastname@example.org