Drug Policy

Sage Advice: Check State Law Before You Order

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Spurred on by horrific YouTube images of teenagers falling over and giggling, the Salvia divinorum crackdown proceeds apace. The Florida legislature recently approved a ban by a nearly unanimous vote, and the Drug War Chronicle reports that police in North Dakota have made what appears to be the first salvia arrest. Kenneth Rau, a Bismarck bottling plant worker with an interest in altered states of consciousness, is charged with possession of salvia with intent to distribute, a Class B felony, based on eight ounces of leaf he bought on eBay for $32. Rau, who faces up to 10 years in prison, complains that police are falsely portraying him as a dealer. He says he bought the psychedelic herb, which has been used by shamans in Mexico for centuries and is also known as Diviner's Sage, for his own chemically assisted self-exploration. North Dakota's salvia ban, approved last year, took effect on August 1, and Rau says he was unaware of it. "I've never been a drug user, never been arrested," he told the Chronicle. "I started experimenting with this stuff because I thought it was legal. I didn't want to get into trouble, but now they're treating me just like some meth dealer."

My previous posts on the anti-salvia crusade are here and here. The Salvia Divinorum Research and Information Center has a recently updated overview of the plant's legal status in various jurisdictions.