The New Killer Weed

Ohio is about to become the sixth state to ban Salvia divinorum, a psychedelic member of the mint family native to Mexico, where it has been used for centuries as a medicine and aid to divination. This week both houses of the state legislature approved the bill by overwhelming margins, and Gov. Ted Strickland is expected to sign it soon. The ban was instigated by Rep. Thom Collier (R-Mount Vernon) after he was contacted by constituents in Loudonville who blamed their 12-year-old son's death on the drug. The boy was killed by a friend who apparently had tried salvia, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports, "although it isn't clear whether the friend was on the drug when he shot and killed the 12-year-old." The Columbus Dispatch notes "there was no direct evidence...that the shooting was drug-related." Sadly, this is how drug policy is routinely made. Cf. marijuana in the '30s, LSD in the '60s, MDMA in the '80s, or ephedra in the '00s.

Previous reason coverage of the burgeoning crusade against salvia here.

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  • Tyler||

    Glad I tried it before all the shops started pulling it off the shelves due to all the commotion.

    The idea that you would kill someone while under the influence of Salvia?

    Absolutely ridiculous.

  • MAX HATS||

    Salvia is part of the class of drugs that was only legal because the Powers that Be hadn't heard of it. It's really becoming illegal because it gets you high.

    Arguments like "this one time someone took it and shot his twelve year old friend omg totally true" are why drugs of all kinds stay illegal. Fear and misinformation. Those few who are informed about drugs are discredited by default - they're either drug users or just know a little too much if you know what I mean (nudge, wink, bong-smoking pantomime).

    It's a fucked up cycle and I have no idea how it can ever be broken.

  • ||

    Tyler,
    As I understand it, you are more likely to harm yourself from an unsupervised freakout than anything else. Definitely not a "recreational" drug. Alas, my attempts to procure a growing plant failed before I left Florida and I don't trust the stuff sold in shops.

  • ||

    MAX HATS,
    Yeah, sadly I have no clue either. It seems that once the major problems in life were taken care of, legislators decided that "Law Maker" meant they actually had to make laws regardless. I dare say that since 1800, almost every law written has been grounded in fear and misunderstanding, or has been pandered to one group of people or another in exchange for political favors.

    A vicious cycle it is.

  • Tyler||

    Haha you're entirely right MAX HATS

    Next thing you know the police will be confiscating your Morning Glories.

    Well, when parents blame some kid's death on the seeds that is.

    Most people would be confused that I know so much about drugs, yet I'm an honors student at a respectable engineering university.

    As if responsibility and "drug" use can't coexist.

    Tell it to puff-puff sniff-sniff Obama

  • ||

    MDMA in the '80s

    A particularly egregious example of "If people enjoy it, it must be banned!". Ecstasy's therapeutic value in allowing people to deal with horrific trauma (like being raped) is unique and astonishing. The loss to society in the knee-jerk reaction to classify it as a schedule I narcotic, over the pleas of the medical community can't be overstated.

  • Zeb||

    No justification is required beyond "Oh God, It's Drugs!" now to make something illegal. So very sad.

  • ||

    Sal A is becoming illegal like all the rest of the drugs. In this case, however YouTube idiots have been filming themselves "high" on Sal A and posting them to the web. The idiot politicians "see" these videos and even talk about them in their stump speeches.

    People if you get high, and film it, then post it to YouTube, you are ruining the very freedom you are cherishing by getting that high. Posting it on YouTube freaks these idiots who know nothing about science out, and then they work to ban it!

    Get high, but stop posting your trips on YouTube. Honestly there are like 5000 on youtube for this herb. I've heard 4-5 different politicians reference youtube highes.

    Also the Sal A high is VERY VERY short lived, and these damn politicians should realize that Sal A binds to and activates the Kappa Opioid receptor. A receptor system that is DYSPHORIC, not EUPHORIC. Kappa activation is being linking to depression and stress...Many people feel like crap after taking Sal A, and never take it again. Animals won't even press a lever for it, like they will Nicotine, Coke, Heroin, and in some instance THC (hard to get to work though).

  • dhex||

    "People if you get high, and film it, then post it to YouTube, you are ruining the very freedom you are cherishing by getting that high. Posting it on YouTube freaks these idiots who know nothing about science out, and then they work to ban it!"

    that's usually how it works.

  • ev||

    Ah, the beauty of the drug war. I never have understood how someone can ban an organic chemical.

    I've twice been 'addicted' to coke, smoke too much weed, cigarettes daily, I drink more than a longshoreman, and yet I am finishing up my psych and German majors with an animal behavior minor. I'm productive as hell. People don't understand the non-mutual exclusivity. This is why I hate society.

  • ||

    I feel like I'm being left out. Sal has no effect on me at all. I've actually heard that from a few of my friends, which makes all the hype even more silly.

  • Kolohe||

    Scientist-

    That sounds an awful lot like a 'don't dress like a slut and you won't get raped' line of argument. Unless you were being wry, in which case well done sir.

  • ||

    People if you get high, and film it, then post it to YouTube, you are ruining the very freedom you are cherishing by getting that high

    This is a substance that gets people high. It has to be illegal.

    A particularly egregious example of "If people enjoy it, it must be banned!". Ecstasy's therapeutic value in allowing people to deal with horrific trauma (like being raped) is unique and astonishing. The loss to society in the knee-jerk reaction to classify it as a schedule I narcotic, over the pleas of the medical community can't be overstated.

    It has a high potential for abuse and not currently accepted medical value so it has to be schedule 1.

  • ||

    It has a high potential for abuse

    Really? It sounds pretty unpleasant. What's the data on habitual use?

  • ed||

    Yet another reason to sell Ohio to the Canadians.

  • Ben||

    Really? It sounds pretty unpleasant. What's the data on habitual use?

    My guess is that "abuse" = "any use". Our children can legally have a short, slightly unfun experience they will likely never want to repeat again, and this is a travesty.

  • Hacha Cha||

    this could possibly slow or stop research into a drug synthesized from salvinorin. it is called herkinorin, it may be an opioid that does not induce tolerance or dependence like traditional narcotics.
    at least the DEA is keeping their filthy noses out of this so far. I doubt all 50 states will decide to ban it but there will be more, unfortunately.

  • ||

    Fear and misinformationdisinformation.

    Fixed that for ya.

  • ||

    To close one's eyes tightly, preferably in a state sanctioned building with others, and feign an "inner journey" is permissible in America. To genuinely experience an inner journey through an aid such as salvia is not. What a laughable state of affairs.

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0595455832/reasonmagazineA/

    JDA

  • PHALKOR the MIGHTY||

    Salvia shook me to the core, brought to my knees, and made me so thankful that my life is nothing like the other world I traveled too.

    Unlike any other substance, this plant (in high enough concentration) can actually put you into an alternate reality. It wasn't fun, I have no intention of doing it again, and it made me feel blessed to be alive.

    If people really want it, it's impossible to prevent people from obtaining it. Drug Warriors are insufferable assholes who destroy lives.

    At least I know what is like to wake up as a coat-hanger and fear that you will remain a coat hanger for the rest of your days.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Most people don't move on salvia, much less kill people.

  • ||

    At least I know what is like to wake up as a coat-hanger and fear that you will remain a coat hanger for the rest of your days.

    I've never tried it, but that sounds like a pretty accurate description of it's effects, from what I've heard.

    Besides the fact that it only lasts about 30 seconds, it makes it not high on my priority list of things to try.

  • ||

    Happy news of Ohio's getting on the "Ban Salvia" bandwagon. The SOS (Stamp Out Salvia) coalition has done their job well.
    No more lives should be lost because of this drug. Period. End of story. All you users who so blithely say "Oh, well, another kid died. So what?" I hope none of you ever become parents with that kind of attitude. You have no idea what havoc this drug can cause.

  • PHALKOR the MIGHTY||

    People who die using Salvia have self-selected themselves for stupidity-related deaths and otherwise would have died doing something equally stupid. Seriously a kitchen knife and a bottle of vodka is 1000x more dangerous than smoking salvia.

  • ||

    Which is why the government needs to institute a total ban on sharp objects. Duh.

  • ||

    ignorance, ignorance, ignorance.

    it's really quite absurd to make salvia illegal. salvia is a drug that stands apart from other drugs in that it gives people the opportunity to say, "i tried it and didn't like it" in a demonstration of their ability to show self control in the face of a drug. it's just not that fun, and it's not a recreational drug, and it's nigh impossible that some kid killed some other kid because salvia INCAPACITATES you. that's why people don't like it.

    it's just not worth that much trouble. too bad, too, because i can't really imagine anyone who would go through the hassle of dealing salvia on the black market. however, making it illegal will probably make it more appealing...

  • jtuf||

    The vast majority of plants are poisonous to humans. If someone eats a Christmas tree and dies from it, will we ban them next?

  • mohammed allah||

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    Please don´t translate read in English.

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