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Salvia Divinorum: Banned in Ohio in 90 Days

Salvia divinorum will become a Schedule I controlled substance in Ohio 90 days from Wednesday. That's the day Gov. Ted Strickland (D) signed a bill banning the plant that passed the legislature late last year. It is unclear how salvia possession defendants will be charged, but a fifth degree felony, the least serious in Ohio, merits a jail sentence of up to a year.

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salvia leaves (photo courtesy Erowid.org)
Ohio now joins at least nine other states that have banned the use, possession, or distribution of salvia. In California, minors are barred from possessing the plant or its extracts.

Although used for centuries by Masatec shamans in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, salvia has in recent years become popular among recreational drug users here. Smoking extracts of the plants causes a powerful, disorienting, five-to-10 minute hallucinogenic experience.

Young people posting videos on YouTube of themselves under the influence of salvia have aroused anxious parents, politicians, and policemen across the land, who, seeing someone get high, can only come up with a reflex response to ban the new "threat." But salvia is not addictive and has not been linked to overdose deaths.

In Ohio, the sponsor of the ban bill, former state Rep. Thom Collier (R), seized on the killing of a Loudonville boy by a friend who had earlier used salvia. But even Collier has admitted there is no evidence the salvia use was directly involved in the killing.

Feature: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly -- The Top 10 Drug Policy Stories of 2008

With 2008 now rapidly receding in the rear-view mirror, it's time to reflect on the year that was in drug policy. Drug War Chronicle published around 500 separate articles on all aspects of drug policy in 2008 -- national and international, state and local -- and while it's difficult to winnow it all down, below are the stories, processes, and themes we think make up the 10 most important drug reform stories of the year (in no particular order):

Massachusetts Voters Overwhelmingly Pass Marijuana Decriminalization

Marijuana legalization still appears a distant chimera, but three decades after the initial spurt of states decriminalizing marijuana, we may be seeing the beginnings of a new round of successful decriminalization moves. Nevada decriminalized, or defelonized, in 2001, becoming the first state to do so since the 1970s, and in November, Massachusetts approved a decrim initiative with 65% of the popular vote. It goes into effect today, making the Bay State the 12th state to make the possession of small amounts of pot an infraction, not a crime.

New Hampshire could have become the next decrim state last year after a decrim bill surprisingly passed in the House, but it was later killed in the Senate. Suburban Chicago Heights, Illinois, however, adopted decrim in December, and local initiatives making adult marijuana possession offenses the lowest law enforcement priority -- which would result in de facto decrim if law enforcement actually obeyed them -- passed in Hawaii County, Hawaii, and Fayetteville, Arkansas, adding them to a list that now includes Ann Arbor, Denver, Seattle, a half-dozen California communities, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

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signs of life in Congress
Michigan Voters Overwhelmingly Pass Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana continues its long march across the states. The biggest victory this year came in Michigan, where voters approved a medical marijuana initiative with 63% of the vote, making Michigan the 13th medical marijuana state and the first in the Midwest. That will undoubtedly help ongoing legislative efforts in states like Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, and Ohio. In Minnesota, a bill that had passed the Senate in 2007 stalled in the House in the face of veto threats, while in New York, the Assembly passed a medical marijuana bill only to have it see no action in the Senate. Kansas saw its first legislative hearing ever on a medical marijuana bill, although that bill died a few weeks later. Last month, a New Jersey medical marijuana bill won a Senate committee vote and is still alive.

NORA Goes Down to Defeat in California

If marijuana fared well in the November elections, the same thing can't be said for a massive sentencing reform initiative in California. The Non-Violent Offenders Rehabilitation Act (NORA) would have broadened and deepened the Proposition 36 sentencing reforms passed in 2001, but, faced with powerful and deep-pocketed opponents, including drug czar John Walters, the California prison guards' union, and drug court professionals, NORA went down in defeat with only 39% of the vote.

There was more bad news, too: While rejecting NORA, voters approved the Crime Victims Bill of Rights Act, which blocks local authorities from granting early release to prisoners to alleviate overcrowding and mandates that the cash-strapped state -- officials say they will begin issuing IOUs instead of cash payments as soon as March -- fully fund corrections to ensure no prisoners are released early. At least, voters rejected an even more onerous initiative, the Safe Neighborhoods Act, which, while aimed mainly at gang members, violent criminals, and criminal aliens, would also have increased sentences for meth offenses and provided for the expulsion from public housing of anyone convicted of a drug offense. It looks like "tough on crime" still trumps "smart on crime" in the Golden State.

Signs of Life in Congress

After six years of Republican domination of both the executive and legislative branches in Washington, Democrats took back control of the Congress in the November 2006 elections, and by 2008, some small stirrings on drug reform were becoming evident. Not that we expect to see congressional Democrats end the drug war, but every little bit helps.

In February, efforts to finally begin to undo the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity got a boost when a House committee held hearings on it. The next month, the Senate passed the Second Chance Act, which had already been passed by the House and which will provide assistance to prisoners reentering society. President Bush signed that bill in April. Even the Republicans seem to have come around a little bit. Several of them supported bills that would address the crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity, and Republican votes helped get the Second Chance Act over the top.

One bill that Bush would never sign -- it is unclear whether Obama would -- is Rep. Barney Frank's (D-MA) federal marijuana decriminalization bill, the first such bill introduced in decades. Don't hold your breath on this one, but even getting a bill filed in Congress represents progress. In another sign of changing times, in August, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) and 25 cosponsors introduced a bill to end the federal ban on needle exchange funding. A similar bill by Serrano lifted Congress's ban on the District of Columbia government spending its own resources on needle exchange.

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) also played an increasingly prominent role in pushing for sentencing and drug policy reform. Using the Joint Economic Committee as his pulpit, he held a 2007 hearing on sentencing and followed that up with a June hearing on the economic and social costs of current drug policies. We sure didn't see anything like that during the years the GOP controlled the Congress.

Not that it's all good on the Hill. Congressional Democrats continued to play the politics of tough on crime and drugs, especially around the issue of funding federal grants to support those multi-jurisdictional anti-drug law enforcement task forces. But from a drug policy perspective, 2008 was a much better year on the Hill than any in this decade. As for 2009, well, that's another article.

Salvia Divinorum and the Prohibitionist Impulse

Efforts to ban the hallucinogenic Mexican plant salvia divinorum picked up pace in 2008, a perfect expression of the reflex prohibitionist response to any new substance. Although the plant has been used by Masatec shamans for centuries, it is new on the recreational drug scene, and that's enough for cops and legislators to want to shut it town, even though the DEA, which has studied it for years, has not moved to do so. Given the scant -- at best -- evidence of any harm done by using it, the only justification for banning it is the idea that somebody somewhere is getting high and must be stopped.

In 2008, California made Salvia sales to minors a misdemeanor (effective yesterday, 1/1/09), while Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, and Virginia all banned it or its active ingredient, Salvinorin A. At this writing, a similar bill is on the desk of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Other states where salvia ban efforts were underway in 2008 include Nebraska, South Carolina, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Texas.

The six states that banned it in (or whose previously passed bans went into effect in) 2008 joined Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, which had all banned it since 2005. 2008 also won the dubious distinction of being the year of the first known arrests in the US for salvia charges. In North Dakota, Kenneth Rau was arrested after ordering $40 worth of salvia leaves on eBay and faced years in prison. It's not known what happened in his case. And in Nebraska, Lincoln shop owner Christian Firoz was arrested for selling salvia even though the plant is not illegal there. He was creatively charged under a law banning the sale of substances for the purpose of intoxication. His trial is pending.

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Salvia Divinorum Google ads continued to run on South Dakota news sites after Rau was busted.
Great Britain Embraces Reefer Madness, Moves Backward on Marijuana

Britain had taken a bold step forward when, heeding the recommendations of numerous advisory panels, it downgraded marijuana from a Class B to a Class C drug in 2004. But in May, desperate to burnish its tough on drugs and crime credentials, a flailing Labor government announced it was returning marijuana to Class B. Labor was aided and abetted in turning public opinion against marijuana by a Reefer Madness-style tabloid campaign that would have made William Randolph Hearst blush. For weeks on end, credulous tabloid readers were treated to headlines along the lines of "Son twisted by skunk knifed father 23 times," "How cannabis made me a monster," "Escaped prisoner killed man while high on skunk cannabis," "Boys on skunk butchered a grandmother," and "Teen who butchered two friends was addicted to skunk cannabis" -- and that's just from one newspaper, the Daily Mail.

Since then, the Reefer Madness campaign has subsided somewhat, only to be replaced by a steady diet of "cannabis factory" bust stories, with grow ops being busted on a daily basis and their operators too often hustled off to gaol. The steady drumbeat of sensational press stories may help explain declining support for drug reform in recent polls. In any case, marijuana goes back to being a more serious offense at the end of this month, and Britain marches resolutely backward into the last century.

America Wages Ineffective War Against Poppies and Islamists in Afghanistan

2008 was the bloodiest year yet for American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, where 155 American troops and 138 NATO troops were killed, along with uncounted thousands of Afghan rebels and civilians. While the country saw a slight reduction in opium cultivation and production, Afghanistan still produces more than 90% of the global opium supply, and that fact leaves the West with a terrible paradox: Try to eliminate the drug trade and face driving Afghan peasants into the waiting arms of the Taliban, or ignore the drug trade and let the Taliban profit to the tune of $100 million a year or more. That buys a lot of shiny new weapons to shoot at foreign troops and their Afghan government allies.

NATO and the US military want nothing to do with pissing off poppy-planting peasants, much to the dismay of the State Department and the drug warriors, but in October reluctantly agreed to enlist in the war on poppies by targeting drug traffickers associated with the Taliban -- but not those associated with the government in Kabul. Afghanistan is possibly the most serious foreign policy crisis facing the United States, the situation is deteriorating, and the drug war and drug prohibition were right in the middle of it.

America Gets High, Mexico Bleeds

Mexican President Felipe Calderón took office in December 2006 and immediately sent in the army to battle that country's so-called cartels. It hasn't gone well: Since then, more than 7,000 people have been killed in prohibition-related violence, with 2008's toll alone climbing above 5,000 as the multi-sided violence escalated. The Chronicle was there -- in person -- reporting on the military takeover of Reynosa in February, covering a conference on alternatives to the drug war in Sinaloa Cartel hometown Culiacán in May, and reporting on efforts to address military impunity for drug war human rights violations on that same trip.

Since then, matters have only deteriorated, with little sign of any improvement on the horizon. And the US is determined to make matters worse, with the Bush administration and the Congress approving a three-year, $1.4 billion "Plan Mérida" aid package to provide anti-drug assistance to the Mexican police and military. But with drug corruption scandals in law enforcement there occurring on an almost weekly basis, it is difficult to see how even a massive aid package is going to make much difference.

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marijuana legalization march, Mexico City
The continuing violence -- and its roots in American appetites for drugs and desires to prohibit them -- is having a perhaps not unexpected result: As the casualties mount and the costs increase, the Mexican public and Mexican politicians of all stripes have begun debating whether there might be a better path. In August, the opposition Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) said it was time to put legalization on the table, a move that won some favor with Mexicans in a poll the following month. A week later, President Calderón announced his party would consider decriminalizing possession of small amounts of all drugs, and the following month, majority members of the Mexico City city council introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana possession and allow for cannabis coffee shops in the Mexican capital.

Mexico is living with the bloody results of drug prohibition that makes the violence of American cities pale by comparison. And that is provoking, finally, some outside the box thinking.

The Endless War Against Coca and Cocaine

There was little for American policymakers to applaud when it came to the Andean drug war last year. Nine years and $5 billion after Plan Colombia commenced, Andean coca production is essentially unchanged, and the GAO reported that it had not succeeded on its own terms. Still, Washington remains committed to Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, one of its few friends remaining in the region, despite the ineffectiveness of eradication and interdiction and despite continuing human rights violations as denounced by Amnesty International in a November report.

Meanwhile, Bolivian President Evo Morales joined Washington bête noire Hugo Chávez of Venezuela in throwing out the DEA (Chavez did it in 2005, Morales in October), as relations between the Bolivarian allies and the US grew extremely chilly, especially after President Bush listed them as the only countries in the hemisphere to be decertified as not cooperating in US drug policy goals. Only part of the problems were directly related to drug issues, but Morales and Chávez proved adept at parlaying regional angst over America's drug war into a broader offensive against the colossus of the north. Now, Bolivia will go it alone on drug policy, leaving US desires behind.

In Peru, meanwhile, President Alan García's mid-year deployment of the military to coca growing zones in a twin bid to eradicate crops and weaken a resurgent Shining Path produced little more than unhappy results. Pressure on coca growers in the southern valleys produced coca grower incursions on indigenous lands, while the fight against the Shining Path produced only the highest military and police death toll since the bloody insurgency was defeated in the early 1990s. Now, largely stripped of its Maoist ideology, but equipped with shiny new weapons bought with the profits of prohibition, the Shining Path is reemerging.

The Prohibitionist Consensus Erodes in Latin America

2008 saw significant movement toward alternatives to prohibition and the drug war in Latin America, some of the most important ones coming from the courts. In April, an Argentine court threw out drug possession charges against two young men on the grounds they were unconstitutional, and five weeks later, a Brazilian appeals court ruled the same way. One week after that, another group of Argentine jurists threw out marijuana possession charges against a young man, saying criminalizing drug possession without demonstrating harm to others was unconstitutional. By July, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was calling for decriminalization of drug possession.

Meanwhile, in London in May, Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos called for debating cocaine legalization, and at the end of July, Ecuadorian President Rafeal Correa pardoned hundreds of low-level drug mules, saying it was absurd to imprison them. In October, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya joined the growing chorus, saying that drug possession should be decriminalized and hinting at larger legalization.

And, as noted above, there are the legalization noises now coming from Mexico, as well as the disdain for US prohibitionist policies from Bolivia and Venezuela. While Washington has been distracted, it looks like a sea change is getting under way down south.

Salvia Divinorum: Ohio House, Senate Pass Ban Bill, Governor Expected to Sign

Both the Ohio House and Senate voted this week for a bill, HB 215, which will, among other things, make salvia divinorum and its active ingredient, Salvinorin A, a Schedule I controlled substance with penalties the same as those for heroin, cocaine, or psychedelics. Gov. Ted Strickland is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.

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salvia leaves (photo courtesy Erowid.org)
The Ohio bill was sponsored by Rep. Thom Collier (R-Mount Vernon) after an incident where a 12-year-old Loudonville boy was shot and killed by another boy who had smoked the herb, a fast-acting, short-lived hallucinogenic member of the mint family. But while Collier repeatedly cited that tragic incident, as the Columbus Dispatch noted: "There was no direct evidence, however, that the shooting was drug-related."

If Strickland signs the bill as expected, Ohio will be the sixth state to ban salvia outright, treating it as a proscribed substance. A handful of others, most notably California, have moved to restrict its sales, especially to minors.

While the Masatec Indians of Mexico have used the plant for religious purposes for centuries, it is only within the past few years that its psychedelic properties have become widely known among inner explorers and youthful experimenters in the US and elsewhere. Typically, some of those youthful experimenters post their tripped-out experiences on YouTube, where some legislator or drug cop or self-appointed watchdog eventually runs across them and demands that the plant be banned. Legislatures reflexively go along, with the ban bills typically passing with no organized opposition and by large majorities, as in this week's 90-4 Ohio House vote.

High School Seniors Are Using Lots of LSD This Year

Jacob Sullum pokes numerous holes in the drug czar’s recent claims of dramatic drug war progress. This in particular jumped out at me:

…if Walters wants to take credit for every drop in drug use that occurs on his watch, he'll have to take the blame for the enormous increases in past-month LSD use among high school seniors and  past-month methamphetamine use among sophomores, both of which nearly doubled between 2007 and 2008 (hitting a whopping 1.1 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively).

Be careful out there, kids! Thanks to the total failure of the war on drugs, you are up to your asses in acid and meth, but seriously, do not mix them. It will suck. You’ll get arrested (and probably tasered, too).

See, contrary to the drug czar’s wild accusations, those of us who want to end the drug war have no interest in seeing young people make poor choices. And the fact that America’s high schools are overflowing with acid and speed ought to help illustrate why closing the black market is actually a perfectly rational approach to keeping powerful drugs away from our kids.

Europe: Dutch Magic Mushroom Ban Clears Final Hurdle, Now In Effect

As of Monday, it is no longer legal to sell or cultivate hallucinogenic mushrooms in the Netherlands. The Dutch government had imposed the ban in April, and a court in the Hague rejected a final challenge to it last Friday.

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magic mushrooms
Previously, magic mushrooms had been a staple of Dutch "smart shops" and coffee shops, where they were sold alongside marijuana and hashish. But a spate of mushroom-related incidents, most of them involving teenage British tourists, led to successful calls to ban them. The incident that most galvanized public opinion against the 'shrooms was the April 2007 death of an attractive French female teen who jumped off a bridge while under the influence.

Selling dried magic mushrooms had already been illegal. The new law extends that ban to fresh ones as well.

While the Dutch government cited the risks associated with magic mushrooms, former mushroom purveyors said the ban would put users at even greater risk. "People will just go picking in the forest, and that can be dangerous. Or they will go to street dealers and get mixed up with hard drugs," Tatanka smart shop owner David Hendricks told the London newspaper The Independent.

Magic mushrooms gone. Coffee shops contracting. Government rumblings about shutting down the rest of them. What has happened to Holland?

Salvia Divinorum: Ban Bill Filed in Texas Legislature, Another Would Bar Sales to Youth

Monday was the first day to file bills for the next session of the Texas legislature, and by day's end, two different bills addressing salvia divinorum had been filed. One would criminalize its possession, making it a Class A misdemeanor, while another would bar its sale to people under the age of 18.

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Salvia leaves
Salvia divinorum is an hallucinogenic member of the mint family that has been used for centuries for religious purposes by the Masatec Indians of southern Mexico. In the past few years, awareness of the plant's psychedelic qualities has resulted in a spike of interest in it. It is currently sold in head shops, smoke shops, other outlets, and on the Internet.

Although about a dozen states have moved to either ban it outright or restrict its sales, the DEA, which has been studying salvia for years now, has not moved to place it on the schedule of federally controlled substances.

State Rep. Charles "Doc" Anderson (R-Waco) doesn't want to wait for the feds any longer. On Monday, Anderson filed House Bill 126 to ban possession of the plant.

"With a single use they can cause some serious, serious damage to their brain and their mental function and it causes hallucinations primarily, as the name would indicate," Anderson told the Waco Tribune. "It's a potent hallucinogen and we start to see some flashbacks scenarios and things like that from even one time use," he said.

Not one to shy away from the spotlight, Anderson appeared the following day on the Dr. Phil show during a segment on risky teen behavior. "I hope my appearance on the Dr. Phil show will help to educate people on the dangers of salvia and the nationwide exposure will help lend more credibility to our testimony," Anderson said, explaining that he was moved to act after a constituent's daughter suffered a bad experience with the plant.

The other salvia bill, Senate Bill 257, is much less restrictive. It would make it a Class C misdemeanor to supply salvia to a minor. The bill says that being an employee of a shop that sold salvia would not be a defense, but selling it to someone with an apparently valid ID who turned out to be a minor would.

If either bill passes the legislature, it would go into effect next September 1.

Salvia Divinorum: Massachusetts Ban Passes House

A bill that would add salvia divinorum to the Bay State's list of controlled substances has passed out of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. HB 4434 passed the House on September 29 and now heads for the state Senate.

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salvia leaves
Supporters of the ban, led by Rep. Viriato Manuel deMacedo (R-Plymouth), who cosponsored the bill, said salvia is a dangerous, mild-altering drug. They cited the infamous Youtube videos of young people under the influence of the plant, as well as recent national survey data suggesting that use is on the rise.

Salvia has no known toxic level and produces a fast-acting, short-lived high. It has been used in traditional shamanism in Mexico, where it originated, for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. According to the Salvia Divinorum Research and Information Center, the herb has been used in divination, healing, meditation, and for exploration of consciousness.

If the Massachusetts salvia ban passes into law, Massachusetts would become at least the ninth state to outlaw the herb. Another handful of states have restricted its sales without an outright ban.

The Massachusetts bill also includes a provision adding blunt wrapping papers and glass rose pipes to the state's list of items deemed drug paraphernalia.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Post-Burning Man Fundraising Soirée

The soirée is open to anyone who is ready to make a donation to MAPS today of $50 or more. To get on the guest list, please make a donation of $50 or greater on the MAPS webstore and type “San Francisco Soiree” in the comment field on the payment page. You can also call the MAPS office (open 9AM-5PM PST on weekdays) to make your donation at 831-336-4325. Space is limited to the first 150 people. The latest we will be able to respond to an RSVP is Friday, October 10 at 2PM. This event will sell out, so reserve your spot today! Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. has been involved in the study of transformations of consciousness ever since, as a graduate student, he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. His books include The Well of Remembrance, The Unfolding Self, Green Psychology, Through the Gateway of the Heart, and two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of Ayahuasca and Teonanácatl. Ralph is Professor Emeritus at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is the founder of the Green Earth Foundation. He has developed and teaches a training program in Alchemical Divination. Shrine -Trash alchemist, circus barker, clown, and artist behind “Basura Sagrada” the 2008 Burning Man temple of which MAPS was the fiscal sponsor. This eccentric extraordinaire will attempt to perform “the story of trash.” Shrine has been a guerrilla folk artist for over twenty years. He is well known for paintings and found object/trash sculptures that display an accessible and familiar aesthetic. He has collaborated, both as a visual artist and performer, with Lucent Dossier and the Do Lab, Vau de Vire Society, and the national and world tours of Panic at the Disco! and Warp Tour. Tucker Teutsch 3.0 - Writer, craftsman, builder, networker, and visionary Tucker Teutsch 3.0 tends to always think on a grand scale. After teaming up with Shrine for the Tasseograph: Trash Tea Temple in 2007, he returned as project director and spearheaded the Burning Man temple Basura Sagrada, fiscally-sponsored by MAPS. Anjuli Verma is the Advocacy Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Drug Law Reform Project. The Project’s goal is to end punitive drug policies that cause the widespread violation of constitutional and human rights, as well as unprecedented levels of incarceration. The Project is representing MAPS in our lawsuit against the DEA. Anjuli oversees and manages the Project’s communications and advocacy strategies, which include national campaigns to reduce the number of people of color incarcerated for drug offenses, to reform marijuana laws and defend medical marijuana users, and to reduce the harms associated with both drug addiction and the drug war. David Jay Brown was the guest editor for MAPS this past year. He is well known for his many in-depth interviews with leading-edge thinkers about the evolution of consciousness and the future. He is the author of four interview collections with controversial scientists and artists, and two science fiction novels. Brown's scientific research has been in the areas of behavioral neuroscience and psychic phenomena. He has written dozens of popular essays, magazine articles, and scientific papers, and has made contributions to numerous books. His work can be found at www.mavericksofthemind.com and www.sexanddrugs.info Valerie Mojeiko has worked with MAPS since 2000, facilitating research of the healing potentials of MDMA (Ecstasy), LSD, Ibogaine and other psychedelic medicines. In her work leading MAPS' psychedelic harm-reduction project, Valerie has prepared over 200 volunteers to provide peer-based psychedelic emergency services from Burning Man to Tel Aviv. Formally educated at New College of Florida and the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS). Randolph Hencken began working as MAPS’ Communication and Marketing director this past summer. He earned his Master of Arts and his Bachelors of Science from San Diego State University, where he focused all of his graduate studies on drug policy issues. Randy formerly was the program coordinator at the Ibogaine Association in Mexico. He was the founder and president of SDSUs chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and he interned for the Drug Policy Alliance in San Diego. Random Rab Emerging from his own distinct corner of the West Coast electronic music scene, Random Rab offers a powerful, timeless contribution to sonic exploration. Rab is a master of manipulating our temporal awareness, leading us into seemingly ancient worlds, where to our amazement, we find visible shreds of the future. The beats are smooth, bold, and overwhelming. The original vocals, melodies and hitting bass merge seamlessly into a tapestry of unique and unexpected journeys. Mr. Projectile Mr. Projectile has unleashed a slew of releases over the last few years, on his homegrown label Semisexual, and with Toytronic, Merck, and Parotic as well as contributing numerous tracks to the record labels Musik Aus Strom, On, and Consumers Research and Development. Mr. Projectile produces limpid, lightly toasted beats, just crispy around the edges with a dash of sauce. T.W. Monk An eclectic and lifelong musician, The White Monk produces funky, soulful, shake-your-booty and bob-your-head tracks. T.W. Monk has morphed from his day job helping youth with special needs as a music therapist, to an underground DJ helping party people in need of beautiful rhythms, melodies and beats. Lunacy Lunacy Productions is a Santa Cruz - based aerial dance company specializing in sensual, dark, airborne experiences. With high-rigged silks, hammocks, hoops and ropes, Lunacy's performances defy gravity, embrace levity, destroy convention and always please the audience. Lunacy will unveil a special ground-based performance at this event that we guarantee will knock you off your chairs. Sasha Shulgin Glassware Auction Guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to purchase an authentic Sasha Shulgin-autographed scientific glassware that he used in his laboratory where he synthesized MDMA and hundreds of other compounds. The iconic Sasha signed and donated these items to MAPS to help us raise funds for our MDMA research William Westerfeld House The soirée will be held at the William Westerfeld House, a 28-room Victorian Mansion built in 1889. The home was featured in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and was frequented by members of the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company. In 1967 Kenneth Lager filmed My Demon Brother with Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan, and Manson family member Bobby Beausoleil at the house. Jim Siegel purchased the home in 1986 and has fully restored it. Jim owns the most extensive collection of 60’s era Haight-Ashbury memorabilia and artifacts. He has kindly offered the house to us to raise funds for our on-going research projects.
Date: 
Sat, 10/11/2008 - 8:00pm
Location: 
Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
United States

Salvia Divinorum: US Military Bases in England, Okinawa Say No to Sally D

US Marine commanders in Okinawa and US Air Force commanders in England have moved this month to ban salvia divinorum, the fast-acting, short-lived hallucinogen that has become increasingly popular in recent years. Although there is no general stricture against salvia in the US armed forces, the bans are the latest in a small but growing list of military bases or commands that have banned the substance.

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salvia leaves
In Okinawa, Marine Corps Bases Japan issued an order banning salvia and other "legal highs" on September 10. The other substances included in the order were mitragyna speciosa korth, spice, blue lotus, convolvulaceae argyreia nervosa, lysergic acid amide, amanitas mushrooms, datura, absinthe, and 5-MEO-DMT. The order prohibits the use, possession, or distribution of those substances by Marine Corps personnel and base workers.

The new order builds on Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5300.28D, which prohibits abusing lawful substances, such as cough syrup, edge dressing and keyboard cleaner to produce "intoxication, excitement, or stupefaction of the central nervous system." Both the Navy order and Marine Corps Bases Japan order are general orders under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Violators face administrative action, court martial, or both, with a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, two years in the brig, and forfeiture of all pay and allowances.

The driving force behind the new order, officials stated, is to eliminate any uncertainty that substances used to "get high" are prohibited. They also cited fears that the drug use could alienate their Japanese hosts.

"Any substance abuse can affect individual and unit readiness," said John Velker, the director of the Marine Corps Community Services Substance Abuse Counseling Center, adding that people turn to drugs for various reasons. "There is a better way to live and deal with frustration than trying to get high."

Two days later, Col. Jay Silveria, commanding officer of the 48th Fighter Wing, based at Britain's RAF Lakenheath and RAF Feltwell air bases, issued an order banning salvia and an herbal concoction known as Spice. Violators could be booted out of the Air Force or court-martialed.

"The presence of persons, in a military environment, who engage in drug abuse through the use of either salvia divinorum or Spice, seriously impairs the ability to accomplish the military's mission," Silveria wrote in the order. "Members who abuse drugs such as salvia divinorum or Spice adversely affect the ability of all units at the 48th Fighter Wing."

"This order spends a little time talking about these two products in an effort to warn people," said Air Force Lt. Col. John Hartsell, the staff judge advocate at RAF Lakenheath. "It's something we got to keep the airmen away from. "It is one of those things that has kind of come up in the United States and has begun to pop up randomly in Europe."

While the Department of Health and Human Services estimated in February that 1.8 million people, most of them young, had tried salvia divinorum, it doesn't appear to be a big problem with airmen in England. Hartsell said he was aware of only one incident involving a serviceman using salvia.

While salvia has been banned in some US states, it is not a controlled substance under federal law. But at least four US Air Force bases -- Malmstrom AFB in Montana, Hill AFB in Utah, Nellis AFB in Nevada, and Tinker AFB in Oklahoma -- have already banned it.

Salvia is Potent, But is it Dangerous?

The Washington Post has a trainwreck of an editorial calling for preliminary discussion of prohibiting salvia. They seem to think the DEA’s job includes evaluating drugs scientifically and that videos of people getting high on YouTube prove that salvia is dangerous. The one thing that’s missing is any evidence of the drug actually hurting anyone.

Pete Guither rips it into confetti, so I’ll hold my breath. My thoughts on salvia hysteria are here.

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