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New Zealand Gov't Seizes Books From Loompanics

Russ Kick

Kiwi government considers books about drugs more dangerous than drugs themselves.

Excerpted from

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 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 and the Dope Bookshop, 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.)

    For more info:

    Tags : psychedelic
    Rating : Teen - Drugs
    Posted on: 2002-10-14 00:00:00