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.

https://stopthedrugwar.org/files/salvialeaves.jpg
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.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Oppose HB 126

Here is a sample letter you can use to contact your representative to encourage them to oppose this draconian legislation.

Representative ????? -

I write to you today to encourage you to oppose HB 126 which seeks to put Salvia Divinorum, a natural plant created by God and used by humans for thousands of years, in Penalty Group 3 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act and make mere possession of the plant at minimum a Class A Misdemeanor.

This bill is an affront to the ideals of freedom and the cause of Liberty. I hope that you will encourage your colleagues in the House to see that this bill is not enacted and that personal liberty remains a cherished right of all Texans.

Thank you,
- your name

Chuck U. Farley

Mr. Charles "Doc" Anderson should be ignored by the public. It never ceases to amaze me how people who are so ignorant feel that their agenda should be enforced by rigid law. I wonder how he came to the conclusion that one dose of a totally nontoxic substance could cause "serious, serious damage" to the brain (as opposed to serious damage). Every news publication seems to warn of the potential "dangers" of Salvia by reiterating that no long term studies have been done on Salvia, yet this nut claims it causes flashbacks from a single dose! He is full of it! I just hope that his fellow legislators see through his charades and don't add Salvia to the list of lost causes of which the war on drugs is compiled.

I just saw this politician

I just saw this politician (Charles Anderson) on G4 and had to post something online stating what an idiot he is. It's scary that people actually elected this guy. Having people in office like him is a big reason why Drug legislation has gone awry and why the war on drugs is instead a war on people. I value my life and believe me, salvia nor marijuana pose any risk to it. I don't even like how salvia effects me, but I believe people have a right to enjoy themselves (provided they're not hurting others). For example, enjoy some beer if you want, but if you get violent then lay off the stuff. Does that mean we should ban alcohol? Well, we saw how well that one went. Politicians like Charles 'Doc' Anderson threaten the average American's freedom by criminalizing benign substances.

What a moron!!!

First indicator: he's going on 'The Dr. Phil Show!' That speaks volumes about what kind of person he is.

Second indicator: "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." He needs to brush up on his Latin and taxonomy. The name means "sage of the seers," not "deadly, dangerous hallucinatory plant!" Also notice how he offers no scientific evidence as to exactly HOW this plant causes these supposedly horrible symptoms.

The poster above me is correct - it is not a pleasant substance to be used on a whim. Dangerous, no, but not fun either! Any problems that have occured with this plant (and I suspect very few have, other than people discovering things about themselves that they wish they hadn't) speak more to our overindulgent American Culture than anything else. How did it remain so unknown for so long? Mexican shamans didn't abuse it, they USED it! It's use was restricted to learned men of traditional herbal medicine - it wasn't passed around in joint-form for every villager to simply get high off of.

The idiots who smoke bongloads of the stuff and then post their adverse reactions on YouTube are largely to be blamed for its banning. Thanks, geniuses! What do you think is going to happen when you use too much of any substance? Psychedelic drugs must be treated with respect, but the choice to use them constructively should remain OURS, not the governments!

It's a fad, anyhow...

If they just ignore this it will soon run its course among these fad-prone teenagers on YouTube but if they raise it up on the forbidden pedastal as an illegal substance it will be around forever.

There will always be a small group of shaman/consciousness-expanding collectors of indigenous herbs who use these plants with respect for the potency and history of their medicinal, mind-altering properties. They will continue to study the effects and chemistry of these traditional plants whether they are "cool" or not.

But a certain teenager-element on YouTube are constantly displaying their idiotic antics... --- how about all the drunken teenagers who get drop-dead drunk and then post it? You can't outlaw everything that a teenager might abuse - you'd have to outlaw everything.

teenagers!?

Isn't it amazing that teenagers would do something like this and put it on the Internet? NOT REALLY. I am in no way suprised to see immature behavior from immature pre-adults! But, I do not think these kids should use any drug. Maybe this is a reason for regulation, but not banning any substance. I would be afraid that any "drug" might prove to be more damaging during a youth's formative years just like alcohol. I do not think kids should be using any substance like this until they get to at least 18. But then again, even that many years does not give all people, especially young men, a certain level of maturity. Some are stupid way into their thirties! The JACK ASS series reveals a prime example of this!

reply

"But a certain teenager-element on YouTube are constantly displaying their idiotic antics... --- how about all the drunken teenagers who get drop-dead drunk and then post it? You can't outlaw everything that a teenager might abuse - you'd have to outlaw everything."

The teenagers antics on YouTube and the ensuing adult political hysteria is reminiscent of the Salem witch debacle a few centuries ago. The teenagers giggle and act crazed and out of control and the adults react in totally ludicrous ways, going so far as to enact laws based on rumors and totally contradictory to any scientific or even anecdotal evidence. Think of all the power some teens get out of making adults flip out like that.

Some guy just got sentenced to 5 years in jail for possession of Salvia and as the first case, the taxpayers will pay $35,000 per year or so to take his liberties because that's how much it costs to pay for an inmate in prison. One person convicted for 5 years because of this lunacy = $175,000. Given problems with prison overpopulation and the economic woes facing America, it's mind boggling that people who are making decisions in America can't keep their feet on the ground.

Perhaps the shamans in

Perhaps the shamans in Mexico used it more respectfully because they knew more about it. In America there still is a lot of learning ahead. In their own way, american users of hallucinogens are also respectful (a lot of them; obvioulsy another lot of them aren't). People know powerful hallucinogens are not to be taken trivially. Plenty of people, even some who don't have very shamanistic notions, do treat hallucinogens with respect. Ask anybody who has ever had a bad trip, and ask their close friends who have been described that bad trip. If LSD and mushrooms were legal, by now they would have become even more respected. They would already have formed their own legal, american shamanistic sub cultures. All it takes to treat hallucinogens with respect is for the public to understand what the drug is truly about. For any society to learn that takes time. Criminalizing it and pushing it underground only hinders the cultural learning process.

shamans

ya the shamans use the plant itself. which yields a greater spiritual effect. a trip that people have is one where there are people standing around them trying to take them toward a light or to another plane of resistance. its weird that multiple people have the same trip. what stupid kids use is the extract. ive seen 120x. the extract just makes you stupid for a few minutes you should youtube driving on salvia. ha he doesnt even get the keys in the ignition

Malkavian's picture

Heh

Given the illegal drug market it is 99% certain that Salvia will enter a very quiet life while people will switch to the usual: LSD, mushrooms, 2C-B and so on. Who really wants a psycedelic that only has a 15 minute effect when they can use just as cheap, longer-lasting psychedelics?

Nevertheless I'm sure those drug warriors will cite Salvia D. as a "success story" of the War on Drugs, but that's only because they never consider what people are substituting towards.

the truth

As an avid gardener, and student of ethnobotany, I grow Salvia divinorum to better understand how this plant interacts with its environment. I have learned that this plant requires cool humid air to thrive, that it is naturally fungal-resistant, and that it does not produce seed. Salvia divinorum is native to the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is a true-cultigen, in that is does not produce fertile seed, and it was basically invented by horticulturally advanced Mesoamericans some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. It is like Corn, and many other food crops that have been intensively bred over generations to express highly selective genetic traits at the expense of natural reproduction. These plant species become dependent upon human cultivation for survival.

Salvia divinorum is the only known species in over 900 different species of the Genus, Saliva, that botanically produce the secondary metabolites we call "Salvinorin A and B." Salvinorin A is the primary metabolite responsible for the "hallucinogenic" effects of the leaf matter. The Salvia plant itself uses Salvinorin A as an adaptive advantage, in that many modern botanical studies conclude that Salvinorin A is both anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, anti-viral. Not surprisingly, the Mazatec people of Oaxaca use Salvia divinorum in prominent medical and divinatory rituals , and these rituals date back to Pre-columbian times.

Salvia divinorum carries the taxonomic species name "Divinorum", not because it is hallucinogenic, but because the ethnobotanists that named the plant found it by studying the divination rites of Mazatec shaman. In the Mazatec sense, Salvia divinorum is a vehicle for healing. In this sense, it is a gift from God, which maybe why the Spanish name for Salvia divinorum is Yerba de Maria, and Yerba de la Pastora (in both meanings, the Herb of Mary, the mother of God).

As an amateur scientist, determined ethnobotanist, and devpte seeker of truth, I am deeply sickened at the thought that people in high places (like law enforcement and certain House Representatives) would promote laws that only distort the truth, undermine civil liberty, and ultimately, disregard the U.S. Constitution. Salvia divinorum is an ARTIFACT of pre-Columbian horticulture. This plant has many great potential uses, and ultimately, if some dumb kid want to get off on it, well, it's not the plant's fault... the fault resides with our own ignorance regarding such matters.

Please, just say "No" to dogma, and yes to the truth.

For any references, please so the book, "Plants of the Gods" by Dr. Richard Evans Schultes.

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