Newsbrief: First Local Salvia Divinorum Ordinance Proposed 1/10/03

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The Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics' (CCLE) Divinorum Action Center ( reported January 3 that police in a Missouri town are urging town officials to enact an ordinance barring the sale of the Mexican shrub to persons under the age of 18. Salvia divinorum, a plant native to the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, has mild psychedelic properties and is offered for sale in the US and elsewhere as, among other things, a legal substitute for marijuana. (See and for information on the pharmacology of salvia.)

Salvia is currently not listed in the US schedule of controlled substances, although Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA) introduced H.R. 5607 last year. H.R. 5607 would have added salvia and its active principle, Salvinorin A, to Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act. That bill died at session's end, but Baca has vowed to reintroduce it in the new Congress. Baca has likened salvia to ecstasy (MDMA) before it was criminalized and said his bill was intended to "raise awareness" of the new drug menace.

[Editor's Note: Perhaps "raising awareness" of an obscure substance is not the best course to take to prevent it from becoming more popular. One Madison, WI, salvia seller reported a huge run on the substance after a spate of newspaper articles on the topic late last month.]

Police in St. Peters, MO, however, don't feel they can wait for congressional action. According to CCLE, St. Peters police claim there has been a recent increase in the use of the plant, which they described as "chewable marijuana." The perceived increase has prompted Police Chief Tom Bishop to urge city officials to pass an ordinance outlawing the sale of Salvia divinorum to anyone under the age of 18. Police department spokesman Sgt. Dave Kuppler said the ordinance is needed to give police "as much ability to control [salvia] as the law can allow."

If St. Peters passes a salvia ordinance, it would be the first law in the nation designed to suppress the little-known herb.

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Issue #271, 1/10/03 The Road to Mérida: Interviews with Participants in the "Out from the Shadows" Campaign | The Road to Mérida: Interview with Mario Menéndez, Publisher of !Por Esto!, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | The Road to Mérida: Dr. Jaime Malamud-Goti, former Argentine Solicitor General | Latin American Anti-Prohibition Conference, Feb. 12-15, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico | Cumbre Internacional Sobre Legalización, 15-Dec Febrero, Mérida, México | Canada Cannabis Conundrum Continued: Government Will Appeal Ontario Ruling, Prosecutors to Put Possession Cases on Hold | Newsbrief: Eyeing Stiffer Meth Penalties in West Virginia | Newsbrief: First Local Salvia Divinorum Ordinance Proposed | Newsbrief: Huffington SUV-Terrorism Ad Parodies Drug Czar's Drug-Terrorism Campaign | Newsbrief: Corrupt Cops of the Week | Newsbrief: Ontario Court Clears Tokin' Motorist of DWI Charge | Newsbrief: Massachusetts Cops Slow to Act on Racial Profiling Law | Newsbrief: New Jersey Seeks to Delay Ban on Asset Forfeiture, Will Appeal Ruling | Newsbrief: Federal Court Ruling on No-Knock Search Raises Questions About Standard Procedure in Kansas City | Web Scan: Maia Szalavitz in Slate, GAO on Colombia Coca, Globe and Mail on Ontario Marijuana Ruling | DC Job Opportunity at DRCNet -- Campus Coordinator | The Reformer's Calendar

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