'How Can a Plant Be Illegal?'

The Drug War Chronicle reports that a clamor is building for state bans on salvia divinorum, a Mexican variety of mint that when smoked delivers a brief, LSD-like trip. The plant, which is available online as one of the last remaining legal highs, is already verboten in four states (Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, and Tennessee), and several others are considering bans. The drug is not very popular, and it's not likely that it ever will be. "The experience is too weird and occasionally downright unpleasant to have much mass appeal," notes the Chronicle, which quotes one authority who warns that a salvia trip "can be unsettling and unpleasant" and another who says, "salvia is not 'fun' in the way that alcohol or cannabis can be. If you try to party with salvia, you will probably not have a good experience."

Yet the fact that some people seem to like it, or at least to find it useful, was enough to prompt legislation, which gained further support after a Delaware teenager who used salvia committed suicide. "We found a note that he wrote on the computer that said salvia divinorum made him realize there was no point to being on Earth," his mother said while pushing for a ban in New Jersey.

"The fact is, legal means safe," a staffer who convinced an Alaska legislator to back a salvia ban (even though it's not clear that a single Alaskan has ever used the drug) told the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. Right, because everyone knows that alcohol and tobacco are completely safe, and surely no teenager has ever killed himself after drinking. The proprietor of "the Urban Shaman entheogen shop in Vancouver" also seems a little disconnected from the reality of U.S. (and Canadian) drug policy, asking, "How can a plant be illegal?" Still, it's a good question.

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  • ||

    One reason it won't become popular is the name, which looks way too much like "saliva".

  • Timothy||

    Bad mint trip? SIGN ME UP!

  • ||

    "We found a note that he wrote on the computer that said salvia divinorum made him realize there was no point to being on Earth..."

    Ahh, come on! He would have figured it out sooner or later anyway. Sure, HE gets to die, while the rest of us are stuck here, paying taxes.

  • ||

    Indeed, many teenagers have experienced wishes for a quick death after drinking. Often in between wishes that Jesus would make the puking stop.

  • ||

    Geeze, Jon, shhhhh. We tried banning alcohol once before, but that doesn't mean that our legislators are bright enough to read the histories of Prohibition...

  • ||

    The fact is, legal means safe

    What what what? What the hell makes this little busybody fuck think that?

  • ||

    The fact is, legal means safe

    I think that well-intentioned but misguided concept sums up what is wrong with a huge mass of our laws today.

  • ||

    Minty LSD... Can someone *please* post a link to an online retailer? Seriously.

  • ||

    I'm heading out for Altoids right now!

  • ||

    These people would be happy if EVERTHING started out illegal, and you could only do something if they passed a law making it legal.

    btw, the trip is not much like acid at all. It's much stronger but only lasts about a minute. more like a very short, powerful dose of DMT. You can get it on ebay but just the leaves and you'd need to do your own extract. I bought some in a smoke shop in salt lake city, of all places.

  • Warren||

    *,
    If you can't handle Google, I don't think hallucinogenics are right for you. Just say'n

  • sagegoddess||

    SD is some hardcore shit. but if the gov't can outlaw a chemical found in virtually every living thing (dmt) then why not ban a plant?

  • ||

    How hardcore could sd be if it only lasts a minute?

    I've had some nasty scary trips but as soon as it wore off I was pretty much fine. The main problem for me was freakin out because i knew i'd have a good 2 or 3 hours left in that state.

    Is sd really that likely to lead to a bad trip?

  • dhex||

    "btw, the trip is not much like acid at all."

    qft.

    it can be unpleasantly bad, but it's mostly just plain fucking weird. and it's certainly longer than a minute.

  • ||

    Because skydiving is legal, it must be safe.
    Because boating is legal, it must be safe.
    Maybe Kentucky needs to ban the mint julep.

  • ||

    From Wiki

    On 23rd January 2006 Delaware teenager Brett Chidester took his own life by climbing into a tent with a charcoal grill - he died of carbon monoxide poisoning [10]. In an essay found after his death, he wrote "Salvia allows us to give up our senses and wander in the interdimensional time and space,... Also, and this is probably hard for most to accept, our existence in general is pointless. Final point: Us earthly humans are nothing." Although being written earlier, notes from Brett's journals have subsequently been presented in media reports as if they were part of his suicide note. There are arguably more relevant factors than Salvia, notably it being reported that Brett was using a prescription medication for acne, which has been linked to depression, and/or that Brett had been suffering from depression generally. Brett told his parents that he had ceased his experimentation with the plant. And it is not claimed that he was immediately under Salvia divinorum's influence at the time of his death. In any case, Senator Karen Peterson used the opportunity to pass Senate Bill 259 (aka "Brett's Law"), state legislation classifying Salvia divinorum as a Schedule I controlled substance (in the same category as Heroin and Crack Cocaine).

  • fyodor||

    Is sd really that likely to lead to a bad trip?

    One friend reportedly fell on the floor barking like a dog. Though I think he liked it. He certainly didn't swear off it. Another reported a detailed conversation with very pleasant extra-terrestials. Sounds like it can be a pretty weird minute. Like a lot of things, I can understand banning it for those under 18. After that, as they said at Woodstock, it's your trip, so by all means...

  • ||

    How hardcore could sd be if it only lasts a minute?

    Considering you smoke it, and it can take hold fairly quickly, what you are talking about is a minute with an open flame if you're not careful.

    That said, it is oppressively stupid to make it illegal, especially since the effects of SD are enough to not only make most people not want to try it, but also to make most of those who do try it never want to again.

  • ||

    Because skydiving is legal, it must be safe.
    Because boating is legal, it must be safe.
    Maybe Kentucky needs to ban the mint julep.


    There are plenty more things that need to be banned.

    In any case, Senator Karen Peterson used the opportunity to pass Senate Bill 259 (aka "Brett's Law"), state legislation classifying Salvia divinorum as a Schedule I controlled substance (in the same category as Heroin and Crack Cocaine).

    Sounds like a good start, we have got to get this evil poison stuff banned before it kills anyone else. Once it is banned no one will ever take it again and we will all be safe.

  • ||

    We have also got to ban mourning glory seeds and the spice nutmeg.

  • Warren||

    Don't forget bananas.

  • ||

    Don't forget bananas.

    Why?

  • ||

    "Why?"

    Come on, when deciding whether to ban something, you don't ask "why?", you ask "why not?"

    I'd like to ban nectarines, too.

  • Garth||

    Juanita,

    The peels, the peels. Dry em out in the oven and smoke away.

  • Warren||

    Why?

    Oh you kids today, you probaly don't even know who Donovan is.

  • ||

    I grew up in New Jersey. It's New Jersey that makes you feel that there's no point to being on earth.

  • ||

    That said, it is oppressively stupid to make it illegal, especially since the effects of SD are enough to not only make most people not want to try it, but also to make most of those who do try it never want to again.

    Perhaps, but if it is capable of getting people intoxicated, then we have got to make it illegal, just like pot, coke, heroine, khat, mushroom, etc.

  • ||

    Perhaps, but if it is capable of getting people intoxicated, then we have got to make it illegal, just like...

    You forgot angel trumpets (and seriously, how can you forget the plant that can make someone cut off their own tongue and penis?):

    http://tinyurl.com/ofxf

  • ||

    they call me mellow yellow...

  • ||

    (Quite rightly!)

  • ||

    What we need is a government commission to search out and ban any and every substance that can possibly cause intoxication, with the exception of alcohol, because alcohol has a long histery of safe use in western society, and all other inoxicants are just to dangerous and unhealthy to allow anyone under any circumstances to use. What we need is a real drug war, i.e. death for dealers, life inprison for users, and a minimum of 10 years in prison for anyone suspected of using drugs, allong with weekly drug testing for every man woman and child.

  • ||

    Juan, you're not even trying anymore. I guess that's a good thing, no sense in wasting time, right?

  • bonk@yak.net||

    KEY WORD
    TIME DISTORTION

    on a higher level trip u lose sense of time. it doesnt matter if it last 5 seconds or 5 hours, u are flying high for eternity.
    and when u lose sense of your body and become a board of wood and then get painted on, then u might be kinda scared too.

  • ||

    Juanita,

    Why not jail everybody? After, we are all guilty until proven innocent. And since you can't prove you've never used intoxicants...

    By the way, once you've banned glue, what will you use to stick things together ?

  • ||

    "How can a plant be illegal?"

    It's not like there's a trick to it. You just pass a law saying no possession, cultivation, sale, etc. They do it all the time.

    I mean, I can see someone asking "should a plant be illegal?", but "how" seems like kind of a no-brainer.

  • ||

    I'd say the trip on SD lasts about 5-10 minutes, but comes on literally seconds after smoking it. You have to hold it in, and it tastes like absolute shit. Then, you start sweating profusely and get extreme tunnel vision for a few minutes. Nothing makes any damn sense at all. Then, it goes away, leaving you mentally exhausted and wondering why your life is so boring that you had to subject yourself to that shit. Believe me, I did it like a million times ;-)

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