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Why are magic truffles legal in the Netherlands?

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Magic mushrooms are illegal in the Netherlands. Magic truffles, however, are legal. How is this possible?

The great mystery - legalisation of magic truffles

To give you the straight answer: no-one really knows! This might be one of the biggest mysteries of the contemporary psychedelic era.

Mushroom prohibition: From 1993 till 2008 it was possible to purchase magic mushrooms in any smartshop in the Netherlands. Psilocybin - the active ingredient in magic mushrooms - was already listed in the Opium Act and in international drug treaties. Still, it was possible to sell and buy the mushrooms as they were considered ‘fresh material’.

In March 2007 an accident occurred in Amsterdam, which is generally seen as the occasion that led to the prohibition – although incidents with tourists and mushrooms happened more often before. A French tourist of 17 years old died after jumping off a bridge, while under the influence of magic mushrooms.

magic truffles

Changing the Opium Laws

A public discussion ensued, and various members of parliament made a plea for prohibition. The then minister of public health Ab Klink asked an expert committee for advice. According to CAM (Coördinatiepunt Assesment en Monitoring drugs) magic mushrooms sold in smartshops do not pose any direct danger to the public health. A follow up study came to exactly the same conclusion. Nevertheless, both studies were neglected and per November 2008 a new entry was added to the Dutch Opium Act.

In it, the government banned more than 100 species of psychedelic mushrooms at once, amongst which Psilcobye cubensis and Psilcocybe semilanceata (the ‘Liberty cap’, which is native in the Netherlands), but not magic truffles… Even the Amanita muscaria (the fly agaric – yes, the red one with white dots) was added to List 2, which contains so called ‘soft drugs’. This development can be seen as an important turning point for The Netherlands, losing her long held ‘liberal’ status concerning drug policies.

Why were magic truffles omitted from the list and are therefore still legal?

Did the legislators just forget about magic truffles? Or were they consciously creating a loophole? Ever since the 2008 mushroom prohibition smartshops in the Netherlands have been selling magic truffles instead. As you can read in our previous blog post: there are some differences between magic truffles and mushrooms, but they don’t differ so much in their effects…

More information about magic truffle ceremonies:


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