Legislation: Illinois Joins Short List of States Banning Salvia Divinorum

As of January 1, possession of salvia divinorum in Illinois will be a felony. Before the legislature passed a bill this year, the obscure Mexican mint with hallucinogenic properties had been unregulated and freely sold at tobacco stores, "head shops," and even gas stations.

salvia leaves (photo courtesy Erowid.org)
"We decided to move forward rather than waiting for someone to be killed because of it," said state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (D-Elmhurst), the bill's sponsor. He told the Chicago Tribune it was necessary for Illinois to regulate the herb tightly because the federal government had failed to act. The DEA considers salvia a "drug of concern," but has so far not moved to schedule it under the Controlled Substances Act.

Salvia has traditionally been used in religious ceremonies by Mazatec Indians in southern Mexico, but in recent years, it has spread to the US and other countries, where it is easily available over the counter or via the Internet. At high doses, salvia can produce intense hallucinations, but those effects are short-lived, with a "trip" being over in a matter of minutes. It is not a drug experience that most users wish to repeatedly revisit.

But for Reboletti and his peers, the risk of teens and college students from salvia use are so great that it must be banned. "It's very likely that you could hurt yourself or hurt others while in this drug-induced state," he said.

But others said that given salvia's spiritual and medical uses and potential, banning it is too harsh. Crystal Basler, owner of a religious supply store in Carbondale, told the Tribune most of her customers were medical -- not recreational -- users. "Some people describe [the effect] as they get very relaxed, kind of like taking an anti-stress pill," Basler said. "The leaf is very, very mild. There's no reason to ever make the leaf illegal. A lot of women buy it for PMS depression."

Salvia should be regulated, but not banned, she said. "I'm a big fan of it being regulated," Basler said. "But it shouldn't be illegal because you're interfering with people's right to choose in terms of their health care and religious following."

Salvia has already been made a Schedule I drug under state laws in Delaware, Louisiana, and Missouri, as well as a handful of towns around the country. Bills to ban it have also been brought in Alabama, Alaska, California, Florida, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas, but have so far not succeeded.

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Possession of salvia divinorum in Illinois will be a felony

Aiming at what Basler said: "But it shouldn't be illegal because you're interfering with people's right to choose in terms of their health care and religious following." This sounds exactly like marijuana prohibition. As with salvia people use marijuana medically, it should also be regulated.

Making Salvia divinorum illegal is a huge mistake.

Making Salvia divinorum illegal is a huge mistake. It should NOT be labeled a dangerous drug as it is not toxic, not addictive and no negative side effects have been scientifically proven. It should NOT be made illegal as it has a unique pharmacology with more potential to benefit mankind, then it has to harm it.

Multiple scientific studies and user reports have indicated that Salvia divinorum most commonly demonstrates antidepressant effects on the user. These studies also show a significant potential in treating addiction of illegal and harmful substances.

Salvia divinorum is not addictive. If anyone uses it in an addictive manner. They are most likely addicted to perturbing their consciousness or to “escaping” reality. Thus making a safe, non-toxic, non-physically addictive Entheogen such as Salvia divinorum illegal. These people will just turn to other legal and easy to access dangerous substances such as paint or glue sniffing, prescription medications abuse, DXM cough syrup, binge drinking, computer duster / Inhalant Abuse, Poppy seed tea, etc. Or turn to illegal drugs which are far more dangerous and could lead to destructive and criminal lifestyles.


Making Salvia divinorum illegal is a huge mistake - VERY TRUE!

i work for the government and am from Illinois. all i have to say is the laws that yall create are just stupid. and to make it a felony, ha. that is ridiculous. you are all just following the trend other states are doing. except for the ones that put age restriction on it. that is what Illinois should do.

And another thing. don't make something illegal because it alters us for a short period. like MARIJUANA! They made it illegal without ever doing tests on it.

you know what, i don't even know why i am posting on this. Illinois may have made it illegal but you know what. in my job, i can do it regardless.

Honestly because of the laws in the states on the so called "DRUGS", that is why i am in another country.


let's ban air

It's a gateway drug, all criminals use it. If we just ban air THEN we'll be safe...
Salvia is just the latest scapegoat in a long history of paranoid propoganda, some folks should just go live in a bubble so they don't have to experience anything. Going to the Doctor is the THIRD LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH in the United Sates, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (July 26, 2000 "Is US Healthcare Really the Best In The World?"). Over 425,000 people die each year from prescription "side effects", infections in hospital, botched & uneccessary surgery, and other things as a direct result of seeking medical attention. We consider these "acceptable risks" and don't run from doctors, so perhaps we should reframe some elements of our public policy to reflect a more sane and rational perspective. "Burning them at the stake" fell out of fashion centuries ago, but a few paranoid people apparently never got the memo.

I've used Salvia Divinorum... Once...

Yes, I used it once. It's not a party drug in any way or form. In fact, the experience wasn't exactly 'desirable'. I did plenty of research before I tried it and knew what to expect. Salvia Divinorum is not something we have to be worried about becoming an epidemic. Banning this substance is a bad idea. Simply regulate it. Make it illegal to be sold or possessed by minors. 21 and over ONLY. This leaves mature, responsible adults to be the only people using it. More underage people are using marijuana, LSD, ecstasy and cocaine than alcohol and cigarettes - because they're regulated. Making it illegal only makes it more tempting to obtain - and use.

People are so quick to ban something they know nothing about.

actually from what I've

actually from what I've noticed in high school was alcohol and cigarettes being the largest consumed substances 2nd came marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy and only a very small group of us did LSD and other psychedelics. doesn't matter how you regulate anything if somebody want anything bad enough they will find a way to get it. making something illegal doesn't make it any more desirable if it brings pleasure in some way shape or form people will be attracted to it.


i'm sure this law was also motivated by fear of mexican immigrants - legal or otherwise. this is the same tactic good ol' harry anslinger used to vilify cannabis in the 1930s...he linked cannabis to arabs, african-americans and mexicans...as part of his moral panic propaganda.

to respond to the above comment..."reflect[ing] a more sane and rational perspective" has never been what runs government/public policy...its a sad truth...i'm sure the state of illinois saw yet another way to steal people's property - in the form of forfeiture - and to lock up those undesirable mexicans.

as for myself, i try to stay away from western medicine as much as i can. i worked as a medical assistant for nearly 20 years and have watched a good system turn into an uncaring and dangerous system...mostly at the hands of big phrama and big insurance. doctors have become little more than low level dealers for huge multi-national drug cartels...

VOTE DENNIS KUCINICH the sane alternative to Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton!!

stop the war

the western approach to demonize most things it does not understand is sad.to make salvia a controlled substance with harse penalties is unfortunate and insane.the oppression of substances and an ineffective war on them only leads to a deadend.too many resources have already been wasted that could be better applied to wellness programs as opposed to jailing individuals for their personal belief systems. one would hope that through public resistance these laws will be overturned by the voice of the people.


Is the herb even worth trying? I have chronic pain and would use medical pot if I could for it.

probably not for chronic pain

but i could be wrong, especially since i know nothing of the nature of your pain. my guess is, though, that it would have no impact.

David Dunn's picture

US Constitution and salvia divinorum

"We decided to move forward rather than waiting for someone to be killed because of it," said state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (D-Elmhurst), the bill's sponsor. He told the Chicago Tribune it was necessary for Illinois to regulate the herb tightly because the federal government had failed to act. The DEA considers salvia a "drug of concern," but has so far not moved to schedule it under the Controlled Substances Act.

What kind of nonsense is Rep. Reboletti spouting? He said:

it was necessary for Illinois to regulate the herb tightly because the federal government had failed to act.

The war on drugs and the Controlled Substances Act does not fall under the definition of "enumerated powers" reserved for the federal government.

As cannabis-smoking James Madison wrote in Federalist Paper 39:

the proposed government cannot be deemed a NATIONAL one; since its jurisdiction extends to certain enumerated objects only, and leaves to the several States a residuary and inviolable sovereignty over all other objects.


States would do well to start exercising their inviolable sovereignty over the war on drugs. Granted, we've got a Supreme Court whose illiteracy about the Constitution is nothing short of amazing. Strict constructionists? Ha!

California's compassionate use law, voted for by the people falls under the US Constitution's protection of "We the people…" California's law does nothing to destroy the care and happiness of the people. The care and happiness of the people is what the Constitution was designed to protect.

As cannabis-Smoking Thomas Jefferson summarized in the Declaration of Independence:

…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…


Illinois is perfectly within its right to ban salvia divinorum. However, shouldn't any substance legislation await research by American universities until it can be ascertained if it is in fact a substance likely to result in people hurting themselves or others?

If it is addictive, why make it a felony? Incarceration is ineffective in treating addiction.

Too, people don't need hallucinogenic substances to commit crimes against others. Greed, avarice, lust, passions and some legal hallucinogen--alcohol--are all readily available.

If salvia divinorum needs to be regulated, that would be the preferred route.

Rep. Reboletti seems more interested in supporting the prison industry with the annual cost of incarceration of $154,000 per prisoner. http://www.dunwalke.com/15_Cashing_Out_on_Cornell.htm

Does Rep. Reboletti plan to introduce legislation to increase the taxes of the Illini to pay for the additional costs of incarceration? Is this law not a hidden tax increase?

"The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government."

— Thomas Jefferson

Some Quotable Quotes

"We decided to move forward rather than waiting for someone to be killed because of it,"
Illinois State Rep. Dennis Reboletti (D-Elmhurst), 2007.
“…the transference of evil to a material object is only a step towards foisting it upon a living person."
Sir James George Frazer, Golden Bough, from the volume: Scapegoats, 1922, p. 6.
“It is rating one’s conjectures at a high price to burn a man alive on the strength of them.”
Michel de Montaigne, c. 1595.
“In Illinois the lawns are wide, but the minds are narrow.”
Ernest Hemingway, (Born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois; fled to Paris in the 1920s).


as a pagan that has used salvia many times

I am out raged that this law went through. I have used salvia in ritual many times and yes it can be a very powerful substance but the ONLY danger is the 10-15 min right after you smoke a large amount of the extracted for (5-25 times the potency) and if you read anything about this herb everyone will agree that you should have a sitter there to be safe but the most common experience is a feeling of weight then time slowing and a inward journey after 10-15 min you come back and feel some what elated for 5-15 hours this is of course if you partake of the shepherdess in a quiet place with a mind at rest. if you take it like the kids on youtube as a party drug then you generally have a bad experience and are unlikely to try it again. The traditional way its to chew the leaves and absorb it sub lingually while meditating this more or less just gives you the mild anti depressant affects for awhile and you can still travel inward but its more like walking through a door than the falling in(as with the high strength extracts) but in any case if someone talks to you you will come back, if you move around you come back, if you think about focusing it will bring you back! there in no need for this kind of legislation except for the need to take more $$$ from our pockets

I'm not quite but nearly as upset about the smoking ban they rolled in this year. The more this government squeezes down the more terrified I get. What happened to the America that went to the moon and was going to tame space? it fell further in on its own mass of bureaucracy and finances. Our court systems are over run our jails a joke they are not rehabilitation facilitys they are criminal making factories that pay themselves 150k a year to turn confused and messed up kids into real criminals giving them real profits. and the fines in the court system can be ridiculous placing a further strain on the finances of family's who in many cases are already near the breaking point enough is enough make every one responsible for his or her actions regardless of what they have consumed or what state of mind they are in would be a big start that. "Little jonney got stoned" "oh really what did he do?" "he played guitar some halo 3 then went for a hike." "well done" VS "Little jonney got drunk" "what did he do?" "hes in the hospital with alcohol poisoning" in the first sounds like a normal kid the second sounds like there could be some deeper issues that need to be dealt with.

A Religous Ceremony!

Is it not true that Native American Indians are legally allowed to use the drug known as peyote cacti in the culture of the community and religion they share? From what I know the government can't take away your bill of rights ie Freedom of Religion. This is to my belief a true explanation for use of the Salvia which is very spiritual/freeing. I believe you can fight this ban by stating that the law cannot over-ride federal law under which the drug is being used as a religious freedom which is to my belief true. I know it is not possible to die from using it and it is just some entity which most people should at least try. The truth is anything that brings your mind closer to free choices or removing yourself from the mass media by looking inside yourself for entertainment has been banned its a crime by our Congress and statesmen. Ignore the law(control) completely! stop the weakening of the freedoms which you hold. This time say no if they are angry and want to take you to jail. This time admit what is right your beliefs or theres? You can tell the truth and still get screwed no doubt but honesty is the best policy.




Yes. The People's Republic of Illinois strikes again. This is the most despotic, tyrannical police state in the so- called union.

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