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Salvia Divinorum: North Carolina Latest State to Ban or Regulate Sally D

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #597)
Drug War Issues

The Tarheel State is about to become the latest to ban salvia divinorum, the potent but fast-acting hallucinogen that has become increasingly popular among young drug experimenters in recent years. A bill that would do that, SB 138, now sits on the desk of Gov. Beverly Perdue, who is expected to sign it. Last week, the House approved the measure by a vote of 94-15. It earlier passed the Senate on a unanimous 45-0 vote.

salvia leaves (photo courtesy
The bill makes possession of salvia an infraction, a minor crime punishable by a maximum $25 fine. A third possession offense would be charged as a misdemeanor. The bill has no separate provisions for charging manufacturing or sales offenses.

The bill includes two exemptions. The first is for ornamental gardening; the second is for university-affiliated researchers.

North Carolina will join 14 other states and a handful of towns and cities that have banned or regulated salvia in recent years, the most recent being the resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, earlier this month. Salvia is not a prohibited controlled substance under federal law, although the DEA is evaluating whether it should be, a process that has gone on for more than five years now.

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andrew lilly (not verified)

In reply to by Salvia (not verified)

here in the US it was called K2, but its the same thing i assume (JWH).  while it has been extremely rare, it has actually killed a couple of people here - possibly due to an allergic reaction of some sort, everyone's body is different, so who knows. it killed them for sure though; first a coma, then death

Mon, 11/28/2011 - 2:05pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I found this story because I have a Google News Alert for "Salvia Divinorum." I use Salvia. But guess what? I approve of the mildness of the reported legislation. I love Salvia divinorum too much to see it retailed in head shops. I think retailers only care about making a buck. This development just makes it more difficult for kids and others who shouldn't be messing with it to get it. If you can operate a computer, search the Internet, and pay by electronic money transfer, you're old enough. Thank you for your time.

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 10:06pm Permalink

I like the mildness of the proposed legislation, though i don't believe there should be ANY regulation of this plant, except ban to sales to minors. That's the only law that there should be. If there is, then no one will even care to ban the plant to adults. People are concerned with the availability to kids and that's about it. So ban it to kids and move on.

Thu, 08/13/2009 - 11:11pm Permalink

Regulation of slightly dangerous and slightly addictive drugs like cannabis, or salvia divinorum would be a wise decision. To make them completely illegal would be an irresponsible decision which would endanger the whole population. Young people who knows very well those products would correctly infer that they are misinformed on drugs, and some would try the real bad stuff like crack or heroin, and this even with a higher probability if they have to search for cannabis and salvia in the underground.
I am using, with all my friends cannabis since 30 years and salvia since 2 years, and I see only benefits. Except that I have been myself misinformed, and I have innocently mix, one day, cannabis and tobacco, and I can tell which one is the real addictive and harmful product. The illegality of cannabis makes it impossible for me to warn the youth again such bad, but widespread combination. Then salvia, and only salvia, has definitively cured my tobacco addiction. To ban salvia consists in banning the best medication against drug addiction. Regulation, information, education is more helpful than repression. There is no real problem with drugs. There are only problem with the drug war.

Fri, 08/14/2009 - 7:24am Permalink
Stephen R. (not verified)

Excellent work by our NC legislators. Salvia is a deadly drug, the most potent of all hallucinogens. Why in the world is it still legal?? At least our reps here in NC have enough foresite to get it off the streets. What's the hold up with the nation? Is the DEA asleep at the wheel?

Fri, 08/14/2009 - 6:06pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Stephen R. (not verified)

I can't beleive you would say something like that. It is very apparent that you know nothing about the plant. I hope you dont live in NC, because I dont want you soiling our good name.

Tue, 11/24/2009 - 6:04pm Permalink
Anne O'Neemers (not verified)

No surprise in a place where many people still believe that there were weapons of mass destruction, or that Barack Obama was not born in the USA, or that anyone who is a liberal is a communist, or another in a long list....
where sense is inversely proportional to political conservatism, and where change is anathema and the status quo is God.

Sat, 08/15/2009 - 9:29am Permalink
maxwood (not verified)

In all the history of the planet there is ONE reported case of a fatality attributed to Salvia divinorum-- a suicide in Delaware by a young man who had been using it (no information what else he had been doing). Meanwhile the not-burning-overdose cigarette genocide grinds on: 5.4 million per year!

And guess what: I think you will find that behind the proposed ban on Salvia divinorum is the same Big 2Wackgo slave drug oligarchy that funds politicians who oppose legalizing cannabis. (I'm only surprised Narcolina wasn't the first in line.)

Sat, 08/15/2009 - 1:25pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by maxwood (not verified)

It's even worse than that. The kid in Delaware was also taking an acme medicine with a known link to depression. So it's not clear what role if any the salvia played. We can't dismiss the possibility that salvia played a role -- because it's not that widely used, I doubt there's been enough research on that -- but for now at least there is not such evidence about salvia but there is for the medication. So the mother's choice to campaign for a salvia ban seems misdirected at best -- understandable, but misdirected.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Sat, 08/15/2009 - 1:40pm Permalink
TrebleBass (not verified)

Salvia is a very interesting drug. I hope a lot of research is done in it. It might be good in treating depression, anxiety, addiction to cocaine, addiction to nicotine, maybe to other drugs, schizophrenia. All those things i've read it might have a potential to treat.

I personally wonder whether it can help with anorexia (not that i'm a scientist or a doctor or anything, so what would i know, of course; but i have a bachelor's in psychology, and i've always suspected there are potential benefits in some drugs and that society is too closed minded to discover them).

Anorexia is an anxiety disorder relating to perception of one's own body (they don't eat because they're always worried that they're fat, no matter how skinny they are). Salvia makes you forget about your body (literally – in high doses it gives people out of body experiences (in low doses it does the same but you remain "in this world" while you're mind is in a state somewhat separated from your body)). Salvia has been suspected (by real scientists, not me) to be potentially helpful with depression and anxiety. Since anorexia is defined as an anxiety disorder, then i'm thinking maybe this 'forgetting about your body' quality combined with the anxiety treating properties of salvia might turn out to be helpful with anorexia.

Maybe not of course, but i hope they do research done on that.

On a separate issue, i've also wondered whether ibogaine could be used to treat antisocial personality disorder (sociopaths). (They're looking into ibogaine
for opiate addiction too, btw). Ibogaine is a hallucinogen that gives people trips where they often go back to old memories and they experience them from the point of view of other people. Many say they remember having hurt other people and that during the trip they felt the pain the other people felt at that time and that it made them repent. When i first heard about that i thought "wow, maybe if a sociopath took that drug...".

Anyway, i hope society stops being so closed minded about certain drugs and that serious consideration is given to researching them for potential benefits.

Sun, 08/16/2009 - 11:09am Permalink

"Salvia is a deadly drug, the most potent of all hallucinogens. Why in the world is it still legal?"

a) Salvia is NOT deadly;
b) neither are other hallucinogens
c) "Why in the world" don't you mind your own business? If you don't want to, don't take it.

That said, I salute your memebership of the Stamp Out Syphilis Coalition!

I *really* like the "ornamental gardening" exclusion - that means I can keep growing it next to my San Pedros . . . . ;)

Mon, 08/17/2009 - 6:25am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

this website is a sham. it's sponsored by the tobacco and alcohol industry and it's supporting the bans on salvia. it's suppressing the truth about salvia. i tried to post links to articles talking about the medicinal uses of the herb and they removed them.

Thu, 08/20/2009 - 7:35pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Al Grand is upset that I didn't allow him place to use our comment board as advertising for his salvia sales site, The information he claims he was providing by way of linking is in reality a page of mere assertions about salvia's medical uses, with no actual information backing up the claim. The page is clearly structured for the purpose of selling salvia. When I disallowed that the first time, he tried again, that time also adding in a link to a Scientific American article -- -- but also including his own sales link. I assumed that he added that in hopes of making the comment look less like advertising.

Al had the opportunity to post a comment with just the Scientific American link, but he wasn't interested enough to do that. I also offered to work with him to get a post up that didn't seem so much like veiled advertising. He didn't have the patience for that. Importantly, when I looked at the SciAm article myself, I saw that the list of medical conditions they cite doesn't cover half of the claims Al makes on his web site. Which makes his web page look even more like a sales page.

If I had thought of it at the time, when I saw the SciAm link in Al's second version of his comment, I would have posted it with an explanation of where it came from. I probably would have also mentioned Al's site, not hyperlinked but clear for anyone to read, as I did here, in recognition of his having brought the SciAm article to our attention. But I didn't think of that until tonight. We'll keep the link in mind for future articles.

We're not against Al's business, obviously, or we wouldn't be among the few outlets consistently reporting on the disturbing developments related to salvia's legal situation. But we have a policy related to advertising in the comment board, and if we allowed Al to do it then we'd have to allow every vendor with a relevant product to do so too. Al has the right to advertise through Google and thereby reach people who are reading about salvia on the Internet. If in the future he puts up pages whose intellectual content legitimately sets it apart from mere advertising, we would probably allow that to be linked, even if it had the effect of providing advertising indirectly. But I don't see that at this point on his site, so there we are.

David Borden, Executive Director the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC

Thu, 08/20/2009 - 11:22pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

i cant believe it. salvia is baned in NC starting december 1st, just found out today from a local head shop. its a wild experience and i absolutely love it! who the hell said its deadly? when the hell have you ever heard of that. im sick of the government taking away everything completely, jsut make things illegal to minors and leave it at that. im not saying legalize crack, but things such as salvia, and marijuana,things just need to be seen from another perspective. cigarettes, and alcohol is legal! and those are deadly things (not saying i dont partake) but this is rediculous.

Sat, 08/29/2009 - 12:04am Permalink
yourbrainwashed (not verified)

ppl think about this... all the states that have banned it and the handfuls to come.... look at the president they voted in! lol Majority of ppl are not capable of making smart sensible decisions.were talking about ppl who actually judge in the favor of a crook who brakes their leg while breakin in ur house and he wants u to pay his hospital bills... nothing that gets passed and taken makes much sence anymore but they do it cause they are the government and they can and we sit back and whine about it instead of making our loud mouths heard.... they take stupid stuff like this from us because its power... its control ... they will find a way to make u pay for it... like medicinal weed... its funny how this is as far as some of u ppl will go in this subject matter... instead of making phone calls writing letters protesting... stuff like that ull post ur comments here and feel good about saying something at all... well im here to encourage u to do jus that... stand up make ur voice be heard... only THEN will u see results... but as long as we have ppl that cant find the time to do their part we will fail .

Tue, 10/27/2009 - 4:35am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am a nc citizen who is educated enuf to actully know what salvia is and I say that saliva is okay to smoke. It is bull for the N.C congress to say that illagal becase they dont even know anything about it nor have they tryed it. It might be okay to ban it from kids my age (I am16 by the way) because they can usally handle how allsome it is. alcohol and cigarettes are legal but they kill you wichis whatever, but it is illagal to smoke harmless salvia. I was so upset when I foud out it was passed and I want things to go back the way theway they were so it is not such a pain to get. ps. it makes me feel allsome.

Thu, 12/03/2009 - 7:13pm Permalink
Omega1 (not verified)

Thanks for keeping this what it should be - a forum to discuss the legalities of salvia, etc. If it's too much trouble for Al Grand to participate in the discussion without spamming for his site, I would suggest Daniel Siebert. He is regarded as one of , if not the leading authority on salvia divinorum. Yes he sells it on his site also but he has authored many papers and has a wealth of knowledge on the subject. I would love to see a post expressing his views on here. Thanks.

Mon, 01/11/2010 - 5:53am Permalink

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