Newsbrief: Bill to Ban Salvia Divinorum Introduced 10/25/02

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Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) has quietly introduced a bill in the House that would make the hallucinogenic Mexican herb salvia divinorum a Schedule I controlled substance. HR 5607, "The Hallucinogen Control Act of 2002," would make both the plant and its psychoactive ingredient, Salvia A., banned substances whose use or sale would earn federal prison terms.

With this session of Congress all but ended, the bill will have to be reintroduced next year, but the October 10 move marks the first congressional action against the plant. The DEA includes the herb, a member of the mint family, on its list of "Drugs and Chemicals of Concern," noting that: "There has been a recent interest among young adults and adolescents to re-discover ethnobotanical plants that can induce changes in perception, hallucinations, or other psychologically-induced changes."

Since S. Divinorum, or any of its active ingredients are not specifically listed in the Controlled Substances Act, some online botanical companies and drug promotional sites have advertised Salvia as a legal alternative to other plant hallucinogens like mescaline.

"Salvia is being smoked to induce hallucinations, the diversity of which are described by its users to be similar to those induced by ketamine, mescaline, or psilocybin. It is being widely touted on internet sites aimed at young adults and adolescents eager to experiment with these types of substances. The user population, thus far, seems limited to younger adults and adolescents influenced by the promotion of the drug on internet sites."

The powerful herb has its defenders. After Australia became the first country to ban salvia earlier this year and the first rumblings of official concern were heard in the US, the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics filed comments with DEA arguing that the plant did not meet the criteria for placement in Schedule I. Other self-styled "salvianauts," enthused by the plant's spiritual qualities, such as the Salvia Divinorum Corps (, are also mobilizing to fend off any attempt to schedule salvia.

The DEA "welcomes" comments and additional information at the Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, fax to (202) 307-8570 or phone (202) 307-7183.

The complete DEA summary can be read at:

CCLE comments submitted to DEA, actually an authoritative report are available online at:

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Issue #260, 10/25/02 Antiprohibitionists Meet at European Parliament in Brussels | Vigilante Drug Bust in Arizona Opens Window into World of Hurt on Mexican Border | Election 2002:00:00 Governor's Races of Interest | Smoke Dope to Fight Chemical Warfare Attacks? Israeli Activists Say Check It Out | This Week's Cop Corruption Story: Two Texas Villarreals | Newsbrief: Federal Court Upholds Drug Tests for Welfare Recipients | Newsbrief: Bill to Ban Salvia Divinorum Introduced | Newsbrief: In Ecuador, Plan Colombia Foe Appears Headed for Presidency | Newsbrief: Feds to Prosecute Ayahuasca Case | Newsbrief: Baltimore Killings Bring More of the Same Old Policies | Newsbrief: Richmond, Virginia Drug Sweep Underway | Newsbrief: Massachusetts Reform Advocates Release Decrim Study as Elections Near | Newsbrief: Oklahoma Uses Civil Suits in War on Meth | Newsbrief: U Missouri SSDP, NORML in Marijuana Petition Drive | Newsbrief: Ontario Court Authorizes Crackdown on Marijuana Growers | Quote of the Week: William Raspberry | Web Scan: DRCNet in the Media, Dan Forbes on Alternet, VoteHemp, Change the Climate, Journey for Justice, Sydney Morning Herald | Job Opportunity: PreventionWorks, Washington, DC | Errata: Polling on San Francisco Proposition S | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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