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Salvia Divinorum: Virginia House Passes Ban

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #519)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

A bill to ban the hallucinogenic herb salvia divinorum was approved by a vote of 98-0 in the Virginia House of Delegates Tuesday, paving the way for the Old Dominion to join the handful of states and localities that have already criminalized the member of the mint family. The measure now moves to the state senate.

salvia leaves (photo courtesy
Salvia divinorum produces powerful but short-lived psychedelic effects. Once obscure, it has become increasingly well-known thanks to Internet-spread word of mouth. While the DEA considers it a "drug of interest," the agency has yet to move to designate it a controlled substance, and it remains freely available over the Internet or at various retail outlets in locales that have not banned it.

Sponsored by Delegate John O'Bannon (R-Henrico), HB21 would move salvia from unrestricted status to a Schedule I controlled substance under Virginia law. O'Bannon said he introduced the bill after receiving suggestions he do so from law enforcement.

"It's really not a pleasant thing to take. It can cause bad trips, dysphoria and sweats," O'Bannon said, in remarks reported by The Commonwealth Times, the student newspaper at Virginia Commonwealth University and the only Virginia media outlet to pick up the story.

Which is why, despite all the hullabaloo, salvia has not emerged as a popular drug. Most users are quite happy to limit themselves to using it once or twice.

O'Bannion demonstrated an idiosyncratic view of individual liberties as he discussed his bill. "I'm respectful of individual liberties and public good. I think what's happening is this is becoming a drug that can be misused," O'Bannon said. "Putting it on the Schedule I will not harm anybody," he said, but would make "a reasonable balance between public safety and civil individual liberties."

Of course, putting salvia on Schedule I, where its users would be subject to the same prison terms as the users of other proscribed drugs, would harm those people unfortunate enough to be arrested with it. But O'Bannion and his fellow delegates apparently didn't consider the impact that being caged in jails or prisons for long periods of time has on individual liberty.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Salvia divinorum is a lovely houseplant that can be grown easily and in low light levels. the leaves are pale yellow-green to vibrant green with a beautiful iridescence to the them. If you lower the light period showy light blue-purple florescences will develop. I've been growing it for 8 years.

Lets move now to create the same legal situation as currently exists for other beautiful psychoactive plants. START GROWING IT. San Pedro, opium poppy, and many other, technically illegal plants are commonly grown for ornamental purposes. I've seen San Pedro for sale in Lowes and Wal-mart, and I've bought opium poppies, and several mescaline containing cacti from a local nursery (in NC).

Growers of these plants will almost never be prosecuted unless there is evidence that the plants were being grown for ingestion, even then its a very weak case.

Fri, 01/18/2008 - 1:27pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The government will ban a harmless plant like this, yet allow OTC/prescription drugs to completely f*ck with innocent peoples' lives.

Salvia was not the most fun drug I've ever tried, nor was it the cheapest. But it was an experience that I learned a lot from.

There are definitely good reasons to limit or ban the useage of a drug.
- Medium-High potential for addiction
- Decreases driving ability
- DEATHS caused by drug, directly (indirectly must be strongly proven)

Salvia is already legal in most places, why ban it? Why go to jail for something you experience for 5-10 minutes? That's like sending someone to jail for possessing or smoking a single cigarette...

You couldn't possibly drive while feeling Salvia's effects and you are perfectly fine to drive once the effects are gone--within 10-20 minutes. I know this because I smoked it in my car and proceeded to drive away not even 10 minutes afterward. (Make sure to responsibly assess yourself, however.)

No one has ever died doing it. It would have been been banned already if this was the case. It has absolutely no potential for addiction--particularly because it is not something you'd want to do every day or every week. Most people I know have only done it once or twice.

This drug has no proven negative health side effects and no potential to cause harm in people's lives... WHY BAN IT?!

Thu, 01/24/2008 - 1:09am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

when you can't control yourself while on it is when it should be illegal. You can do a lot of damage in 5-10 minutes. think what MMA fighters do to each other within a single round. I can not tell you what I did to myself after smoking salvia. When I came out of it My knees were scraped up something terrible. knots all over my head, and a painful bruise on my sternum that's been there for over a week now. It was not a scary trip but it aint acid or shrooms. Do I think jail time is necessary? No. A fine and probation? Yes.

Sun, 07/20/2008 - 10:58pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

So you're saying that smoking salvia turns you into a raging, self-destructive animal? Stop spewing ignorance and ruining everyone's fun.

Wed, 02/04/2009 - 10:15pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

"if you can't control yourself while on it is wehn it should be illegal".
i hate people with such a closed sense of mind.
if that's the true case, you should ban all alcohol. geez.

Sat, 08/22/2009 - 8:20pm Permalink
Anonymous45343 (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Drugs are banned mostly due to lobbyists. It is not a matter of public health with many, its more business than anything else. If marijuana and derivatives, as well as cocaine, you would have much less depression, and less crime.

Mon, 06/07/2010 - 6:40am Permalink
who cares (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

you dont know what ur talkin about apparently  u dont have a strong mind in any way what so ever. go drink a few shots of rum ,vodka,gin, ect. how long does alcohol last how much damage can be done it that amount of time.its legal soooo wha was u sayin again?

Sat, 09/18/2010 - 6:58pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

are you serious of course this drug should be banned. Noone knows the long term affects of this drug so there for it could be harmful. It has caused death, if not directly the cause then indirectly but thats neither nor. I have done alot of drugs in my time and I don't down people for wanting a buzz but this drug is way to dangerous and should be banned before it comes widespread and before something horrible happens to someones loved one. Marijuana was banned and it is no where near the same as salvia. My opion BAN IT NOW!!

Thu, 10/23/2008 - 9:42pm Permalink
Anonymous12345… (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You are very misinformed if you think that salvia is similar to marijuana. Salvia is a pshycadelic, meaning you see things, Marijuana is not even close to the seriousness of salvia.legalize.

Tue, 04/13/2010 - 10:23pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I smoked salvia divinorum for my first time yesterday. I had 20x and my mind was blown away i was in a complete different state of conciousness for about 10 minutes. I cant even begin to explain the effects. Besides that i find it to be completely harmless since the trip lasts for a matter of minutes. I believe that if the government is going to ban marijuana thats ok along with other illegal narcotics but keep salvia divinorum legal so we as Americans have at least one type of psychedelic to stay satisfied with, salvia is less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol because there are no reported deaths do to overdose, and it is not physically or psycologically addictive in anyway. Salvia is not a party drug and should never be considered one because taking salvia is more enjoyable when in a quite peaceful environment rather than with loud noise and alot of chatter among people. Once again salvia should be the one and only psychedelic to be legal for the simple fact that allowing it to be consumed will keep people happy and satisfied knowing there is a legal way to have a short-lived mind altering experience. Thank you

Sun, 02/17/2008 - 5:47am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

So does anyone know if it is officially illegal? I know it passed in the house but has it been passed by the senate and signed by the governor? If not I have to get to ordering it before it's outlawed. If it has been passed.. darn.

Mon, 02/25/2008 - 11:48pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

it becomes law july 1st....according to the news friday night in richmond....

Mon, 03/17/2008 - 10:05am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

It appears the ban was signed on March 2, 2008, but goes into effect July 1, 2008.

Can someone confirm that it is illegal when signed, or illegal when the bill becomes effective?

Get it while you can I guess.

Thu, 03/27/2008 - 6:05pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm not a hundred percent sure that the bill has completely passed and that it is officially illegal now but i came upon this site :
and from the looks of it, it IS illegal in VA now!! damn politicians, if they aren't getting a profit off of something they just ban it. I really hope that someone proves me wrong in this case!!

Mon, 03/03/2008 - 12:49am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

ban salvia. Next they will be wanting to ban sweet flag. Salvia is a great analgesic for pain relief and should remain legal. God gave us natural plants to have and now the government wants to second guess God Almighty? The government needs to patroll their own members in toilets and hotels and leave the plants and natural herbs up to God

Wed, 03/12/2008 - 3:21am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I would say as our freedoms are quickly being eroded away and our human rights to seek out higher levels of understanding, health, and persuit of happiness, time to stand up and speek . enough is enough we as Americans dont need political pigeons making decisions on subjects that the have no reason to meddle with. Our country was founded on freedom from religious and personal oppression from a monarchy. Now that we have lost most of our personal rights and presumption of innocents guaranteed by my fore fathers we might as well change the usa to ussr and for those of you that are to young to know of our past threat it is easy to find. We are becomming a nation of people being controled by not only our local governments but by our state and federal government. we no longer have the freedoms that our past generations had and have lost the reason to call us the home of the free. I hope that there are enough of us to finish the verse ,land of the brave. I want you to know that I do not use any drugs that our government consider illegal nor do I use Salvia. I have used drugs when in high school and not since than. I do believe that every american has the right to make those decisions in there life and to live there life as they chose as supposedly free Americans. Now not to contradict myself but yes there are drugs that are proven to be dangerous and can case serious harm. Alchohol kills more people in American than any other drugs combined, Oh i,m not against it I drink also, It must be the ability for control and tax collection by our government. So long ago I believe there was a protest in Boston, they had enough. Now there are alot of laws that I do not agree with and do infrindge on my right of presumed innocent, Im not going to go on but enough is enough. I no longer need someone to hold my hand while i cross the street. So big brother go after the bullies and help the weak; disease, hunger, poverty, homelessness, and lack of education. Let me be the American that I am and have the right to be.

Dan Blevins , The Brave American

Tue, 03/18/2008 - 11:06pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Terrible extracts poor quality. I have ordered from them before, their crude 20x is like some vendors 5x. I would stay away from, I guess you get what you pay for.

Wed, 05/21/2008 - 7:07pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Are Americans able to purchase from that site as well?

Thu, 09/25/2008 - 8:49pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Ok, so our government is always talking about the rise in crime. That’s because some retard in a big as office votes to prohibit something that people found as an alternative to using illegal substances. Just because some one bans something and slaps a five-year prison term on it doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. I bet that the united states government spends in the billions of dollars a year to fight drugs like marijuana and salvia, these are drugs that will not straight up kill some one!!! if these where just legalized and maintained a moon shine like Stacie America could pay of its debt to china in a few years.

Tue, 06/24/2008 - 8:19pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Salvia's a great, unforgettable experience. There's plenty of warning's on the package if you're mind's too weak to handle it. It's garbage that recreational users like me have to suffer because of pussy-ass politicians can't control their kids.

Mon, 09/01/2008 - 3:39pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

So does this "NEW" Law include TINCTURES as well or just the Plant and Extract?

Thu, 09/25/2008 - 7:30pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Why not ban coca cola and macdonalds, chocolate , and monsanto transgenic crops, are they not bad for you ? oh and I forgot lettuce !
Im sure if you analyze most plants deeply enough you wil fiind some kind of toxin , When are they going to opne first Solient green factory

Sun, 11/16/2008 - 12:40pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Not only was it banned and in my opinion debased,i go to alabama once a year and have checks out head shops and NOW the packageing has 18 or older on them , just boost that to 21 and up and theres no real issues.
Sally-D isnt a Hallucinagenic like any of the others,and it realy stops you from doing anything e.g. DRIVEING!!!, whom ever try'd wouldnt have gotten out their yes like cigs or alcohol it should be age regulated,and i even have found its not realy helpful to have above 10x extracts "my opinion"... some ppl "as i have" have felted the cleaning it does,ITS GREAT MEDICINE.BUT i also think the big PHARMS have done their research and know they would lose alot of money...
ITS A VERY HEALTHY TRIP, may be scary at first for ppl not expecting to feel delerious :), and whats 5 to 10 minutes...and realy the better more medic effects arent all from just smokeing it, dipping it"holding it in your mouth for a time",makes it a totaly safer , longer and not as incapacitating ,GREAT, expiriance...and yes thats what sally-d does , have you ever been delerious , well this form of it is without the flu and the efter effects are like being reborn with no BAD side effects WHAT SO EVER!

Thu, 12/04/2008 - 1:30am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

i love it , wish it would be regulatedand brought back,it is an aquired taste ,and after a while the ppl that think "been there,done that,not for me"would prolly not go back to it and go back to the Illegal stuff anyways "do to being better"....banning salvia is like giveing these ilegal drugs room to they still have reasons to put people in jail....jail jail jail ,war war war , 2 things the subhuman lives love to enforce the most :\

Thu, 12/04/2008 - 1:38am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

i hate living in this state, no medical MJ or anything, i wanna move to CA

Tue, 01/06/2009 - 6:02pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In Minnesota, on March 5, 2009, Representatives Debra Hilstrom (D), Dave Olin (D), Karla Bigham (D), Patti Fritz (D), Sheldon Johnson (D), and David Bly (D) introduced House Bill 1301. This public safety policy bill was amended on April 20, 2009, to include a section that would make possession or sale of Salvia divinorum a crime (possession would be a misdemeanor, sale would be a gross misdemeanor). House members voted unanimously in favor of the bill that same day. It has not yet come up for a vote in the Senate. If enacted, the new law would go into effect on August 1, 2009. The text of the bill only mention Salvia divinorum; salvinorin A is not mentioned.

Mon, 06/08/2009 - 2:32am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I wish they'd make cannabis legal. Salvia is nothing like marijuana at all. Legalize Weed please you corrupt slimey politicians we all know you smoked it and everyone knows it isn't harmful so stop being cock munches about it and legalize it.

Fri, 05/15/2009 - 6:09pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

i just got it at home depot in VA. I didnt even know it was used for a drug. lol i was looking to see how to take care of it and stumbled o this sight

Tue, 05/19/2009 - 6:51pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I wouldn't even call Salvia a drug, the only way to get any effect from it is to smoke a strong extract. And it's not fun, it's not psychdelic, it is nothing like marijuana. It's like a bad joke, and you'd have to be challenged to want to repeat the experience. Good riddance really who cares, this should never have become an issue to the public. It will not replace LSD or the millions of research chemicals being produced that are more powerful than the old hippy drugs and can't be stopped, they will ban one and two more will take it's place. Mescaline, mushrooms, LSD, they are benign compared to the stuff available now which are perfectly legal and available. Drugs aren't going to go away, and the laws really don't discourage people from doing them. Maybe it straightens a few outm but some people will never change. It's sad, I can see why we have these laws but it seems like we are losing a war that can't be won.

Fri, 06/05/2009 - 6:06pm Permalink
Mexican Mint (not verified)

Here is another news story on Salvia: It mention a company called arena. Has anyone ordered from them ?

Thu, 06/25/2009 - 1:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I think that the real issue here is that people don't want to take the time to really research what salvia divinorum is, and what any beneficial effects could be, just because a few immature kids out there are abusing it. There are legitimate reasons for wanting to experience psychedelic effects besides simply "catching a buzz." You would be surprised what you can learn about yourself and your life. It can be a better therapy than any paid service will ever be. It appears to me that the legislators are completely uneducated about what they're dealing with, and are just dealing with pressure from equally uneducated (about the subject) parents. Additionally, by taking these actions, the VA government has opened the door for another black market, from what could have been a legit business. Granted that salvia is not a very in demand substance, but it still doesn't make sense for it to be banned. Why should everyone else suffer because a few individuals cannot handle themselves on a tame, psychedelic substance? These types of decisions, and the nazi-like affiliation of the VA government to the conservative, fearful right are why I will be moving out of the state.

As a long term VA resident (I was born and raised here) it greatly dismays me that it's become this oppressive of a government. Living in the homeland of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and watching all of this unfold, only goes to show us truly how far we've come from those men's original ideas for this country. I'm sorry to say that the state of VA is going to lose my tax dollar contribution when I am forced to move. The state should really set an example (as one of the original thirteen colonies) and fully legalize the growing of marijuana and saliva divinorum for personal use. Once again those with money and power are forcing their misunderstandings of something into a law. We are only going to be a sugar-coated facism if this continues.

I know several friends who have either OD'ed or died from legal prescription's time to stop this trend of making something illegal just because a large profit can't be gleaned from it. The drug companies are still in business because of the size of their industry, while we're forced to say goodbye to the relatively harmless substances we know and love, because they are not making any money from it.

Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:00pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Well if this is the case lets go all out and ban tylenol, ibu, benadryl, all alcohol, hell lets make all frogs extinct, oh and lets not forget even good ole prescription drugs, sleep aids,anti depressants,even the heart medications blood pressure ones too oh and the fat busters too Ali, stackers, any product that people and medical researchers alike may want to try. And that will fix everything... Evryone is addicted to something! Shopping,cars,money,sex,cigs,cigars, <<>>

Lets face it, the trueth is like a cold shower,
I know several people that pop tylenols and ibu for the slightest of pain, I know people who drink 4-5 allegras for the sniffles, I know people who have bein on anti deprsants for so long that that they become depressed when not on anti dpresants, I know sevral people to pop benadryl just to sleep!
- "Doctor im out of my sleep aid now i cant sleep!"
- "Doctor, i need to lose wieght so i want to try stackers, or ali and not eat for 7 hours, why am i still fat?!!!"
- "Why is my cholesterol not low enough?" Well mam you what was your lunch? "A salad with 3 $1.00 nuggets from wendys and a large coke." "How often do you lunch like this?" "Every day i have to eat."
- "Doctor i want a higher prescription on my heart meds," then go over load on the fried foods, and less excersize because somehow a higher prescriptions = more careless acts.

Here's one ill never forget, "my son has been like this for 2 days.
Skin burning yellow skin hives up the ying yang levels of toxins that only God could handle, 12 hours later his test indicate hep A, slamonela amongst many other bacteria when questioned him and his friend were at a lake grabbed 2 frogs 1 was lime green and the other just a reg. toad and they they sucked the rear ends of them....
Ok so everyone is either addicted to something or so FULL OF IT they are trying to make themselves ill, to get something from the legal drug market (AHEM) to satisfy what ever they want. Hell My Husband is addicted to the internet, LOL hes my P.A.

Now do you know where i'm going? follow me, my spouse and i are both in the medical feild not once was salvia brought up to be as harmful as cigaretts or cocaine. During school and after. In fact this was brought up in a seminar we attended a chiropractors convention it was mentioned that this is one form of relaxation some of patients are doing. It was said in a joking mannar, but it was the only time after my career began, that i had heard any talk of Salvia, By Physicians,E.R Doctors and Chiropractors alike in the local area of VA! So lets cut the crap stop banning meaningless plants that i have grown in my home and found it fun to use once in my college years! Think about this, the air you breathe may contain 76% of oxygen in it; if that! Now a days there are so many toxins and gasses in the air it may have to be banned, because you could get high off of them.

Tue, 09/15/2009 - 2:45pm Permalink

The popularity of Salvia has been increasing. It is not something to "misuse" Salvia is an important vehicle for transporting between this and spirit world. I fear prohibition will only increase the 'misuse" Education is what is required. With proper education we can all benefit from Salvia. Salvia wishes to be treated with respect. Salvia is not a toy to play with. Please, educate, making Salvia illegal will bring no good.

Sat, 10/17/2009 - 6:27am Permalink
Anonymous salv… (not verified)

If you're going to ban Salvia then you should ban alcohol cause if you drink to much you can become dissassociative and get in a car and drive it into a elementary school ........

Tue, 08/17/2010 - 7:14am Permalink
Anonymous12345 (not verified)

i could give a damn if weed was legal.......many hours of research found the following facts, no salvia related hospital trips/deaths have been recorded and an estimated 192k have been related to weed. cig's kill 1 person every 3 seconds. salvia kills ? people in a ? amount of time because there is no deaths. i could rant for hours, people hear us but they don't listen or are to close minded to change anything. alchohol and cig's would be illigal to if so much money wasent made from them. in va, you do more time for salvia than you do for cocaine, gov needs to smoke up, seriously.

Tue, 08/02/2011 - 1:23am Permalink

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