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Salvia Divinorum: Vermont Town Gets Fight Over Sales Ban

Last week, Drug War Chronicle reported on an escalating campaign to criminalize salvia divinorum, the fast- and short-acting hallucinogenic Mexican member of the mint family whose use has seeped into the popular consciousness among North American psychonauts in the past decade. The story opened with the town of Middlebury, Vermont, declaring a public health emergency to stop a local tobacconist from selling the potent herb.
salvia leaves (photo courtesy Erowid)
Now, the store owner is fighting back. The day our story ran, James Stone, proprietor of the Emporium Tobacco and Gift Shop, announced he will appeal the order and has hired an attorney to fight it. "If they had come to me first, I would have worked with them," Stone said.

But that's not what happened. The town council acted on the matter without notifying Stone, who only learned of the ban when a reporter called him the next day. The council acted after Police Chief Tom Hanley reported that the town school resource officer had become aware that teenagers were using salvia. While Hanley could not name any cases where anyone had suffered any adverse effects from ingesting the drug, he urged the council not to take that chance. "It's a tragedy waiting to happen," he said.

Hanley also made the odd claim that the hallucinogenic effects of salvia, which last for less than 20 minutes, can be extended for several hours if the user is drinking alcohol. "You can't have kids with developing brains putting this stuff in their bodies," Hanley warned. "The effects are different for different individuals and you just don't know what's going to happen."

But the Middlebury ban is not just against sales to minors. It is a total ban.

Salvia has been a "substance of concern" for the DEA for several years, but remains legal under federal law. Five states and a handful of municipalities have criminalized it, and similar efforts are afoot in seven other states this year. But Middlebury is unique in having chosen the public health emergency route.

That's raising eyebrows among civil libertarians. "It sounds very arbitrary and very broad and very subjective," said Allen Gilbert, executive director of Vermont's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. "How does one person make the determination that something is a danger?" Gilbert said.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Salvia is not the enemy! Irresponsible parenting is!

Plants are the Creator's gift to us. Extracts and derivatives obtained from chemical treatment of plants are the human's creations and should be controlled. That would make Salvia Divinorum Extracts illegal but the plant would stay legal (and it would be the owner of the plant that would decide to extract any substance at his own risk)

BTW, this herb will probably scare most people that try it and they will not attempt to try it again; and will probably reconsider using other substances after their first experience. It is not a recreationnal drug like ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO that our convenience stores sell or VIAGRA, RITALIN, OXICODONE etc. that our wonderful doctors prescriibe to us to the great pleasure of the pharm companies and that teens go take secretly for a buzz!!!!!!

If parents payed more attention to their kids and had conversations with them instead of having arguments and giving orders, they would be aware that their kids may be wanting to explore with mind altering substances.

Unfortunately for many mommies and daddies, it is not the government that is supposed to monitor children's activities but the parent's and family. Open and constructive dialog with a child can go a very long way and eliminate futur arguments and misunderstandings.

Middlebury Emporium Tobacco And Gift Shop - Salvia

About a month ago, the town of Middlebury had put a health ban on the sale of
salvia divorium from the Emporium. I feel that this was a very unreasonable
attempt to drive the business out of town. In doing so, the board of selectman
in my opinion violated the rights of the constitution. Supposedly according to
The chief of Middlebury Police, there were several 13-14 year old kids sent in
to buy the salvia from the Emporium. To me that just contradicts the point that
they are trying to make. How can you say its not right to sell to kids something
that is not illegal but yet, you send the kids in yourself? That in my opinion
is breaking the law to uphold something that is not a law. But, when it came
time for the hearing the chief of Middlebury Police could not prove that he sent
those same kids in. Frankly, this is a case of bullying and opiniated
immaturity. I have my opinions about things too but they are too inappropriate
to disclose. Being that I know the owner of the Emporiu
m, I can say that he is a very reasonable person and puts his heart into
everything he does. He would give his shirt off his back for just about anyone.
He has been treated very poorly as a member of the community. Now supposedly
this all started because a 13 year old kid got sick not just because he was
smoking salvia but, also because he was drinking alcohol. What I want to know is
where were the parents for that one? If parents have a problem with what there
kids are doing, then be more involved with their lives. Although , still nobody
could prove that this happened. For those who are reading this, If you agree
with the things I have said then please write to the editor yourself and speak
up. It is your right!



"Hanley also made the odd claim that the hallucinogenic effects of salvia, which last for less than 20 minutes, can be extended for several hours if the user is drinking alcohol." - Alcohol actually prevents the Salvia from working and alcohol does not extend the experience but actually prevents it from happening. What should happen is alcohol should be banned, but it won't; because what are the cops, lawers and judges going to do on the weekend?


i am a student of middlebury high school and would have to say that there are very few people at the school who have ever smoked salvia divinorum. I am also outraged because the whole ban ended up cause the tobacco emporium to close the only other quality headshops in the state are in burlington. so although most people dont care about the salvia ban the loss of the emporium is a real downer.

salvia available in vermont??

FYI, i perused a couple head shops in Burlington, VT for salvia yesterday...neither carry it anymore. they employees didn't know why they stopped selling it a while ago (1-2years ago?). i'm assuming this is related--store's don't want to get caught in the middle of some irrational crossfire like in middlebury.

anybody in VT know of any stores that still sell it? just curious about the reaction in this very community-driven state, and whether or not everyone has pulled it from the shelves from fear of persecution.

it amazes me the lack of knowledge that goes into banning/illegalizes psycho-active substances. every attempt (and often successes) to illegalize/ban salvia has been driven by 1 thing alone -- ignorant fear of the unknown. that's it. i don't see how any legislator can deny this.

with a little scientific inquiry, one can see quite clearly there is no evidence of bad health-effects of using salvia. it just makes me so sad to see how psycho-actives, which have true potential to enhance conscientious citizenship, good mental health, etc etc, when used responsibly, are constantly lambasted by FEAR. argh!

Still sold in Rutland at the Emporium

still sold in Rutland at the Emporium

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