Alabama legislators: This salvia is no pretty flower
2/24/2008, 12:39 p.m. CST
By PHILLIP RAWLS
The Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Two Alabama legislators are trying to ban a type of salvia. But they're not trying to rid Southern flower beds of the red and blue flowers popular in the region.
Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, and Sen. Hank Ewrin, R-Montevallo, have proposed bills that would classify salvia divinorum as an illegal drug with the same punishment as marijuana.
Daniel Siebert, a California pharmacognosist who studies the medicinal properties of plants, said the legislation goes too far.
"Salvia is a valuable medicinal herb that should be available to people," he said.
Salvia divinorum is a sage-like plant that is related to the colorful flowers called salvia or red and blue sage. Bedford's and Erwin's bills only cover the one type.
"Everyone's flower bed is safe," Bedford said.
Salvia divinorum is usually smoked or eaten. It has hallucinogenic properties when used in large amounts and, because it is unregulated in most states, it is widely available on the Internet and in some shops.
Many parents have never heard of it, "but the kids know it," Erwin said.
Erwin and Bedford said they haven't heard of many problems in Alabama, but they are trying to act before use becomes widespread.
(Yeah that's worked real well in the past hasn't it?)
Bedford's bill breezed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on an unanimous vote Wednesday and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate. Erwin's bill is awaiting action by the Judiciary Committee.
(I was completely unaware of these bills or I would have been lobbying against them)
If either bill passes, Alabama would not be acting alone.
Delaware, Louisiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Illinois have passed criminal laws similar to the Alabama proposals. Tennessee has made it a misdemeanor offense, and Maine has banned the sale to people under 18.
Salvia divinorum is native to Mexico and has been used for many years by the Mazatec Indians for rituals and as a healing agent. As its use expanded beyond Mexico, several countries bannned it, including Australia, Denmark and Sweden, but not the United States.
Siebert, who produces a Web site called "Sage Wisdom," says salvia divinorum can help with meditation, introspection and psychotherapy.
"It produces an introspective state of awareness," he said.
Seibert, of Malibu, said its effects are short-lived and it is not addictive. He said he would prefer to see Alabama do what Maine did and treat it like alcohol by banning the sale to minors.
"I don't think that's a good approach," Bedford said. "You are legalizing the use of something we don't have enough scientific data about."
No, Senator Bedford...YOU are making the use of something you know nothing about ILLEGAL.
Salvia Divinorum is related to the geranium plant. I have tried salvia a few times and it never did anything to me at all. Others who have used it report a very short lived psychadelic effect. Psychadelics are not known to be addictive. I've never known anyone to get hooked on salvia....it just doesn't happen. We grew it for many years and it is a beautiful plant. Hell, the cops seized large bags of salvia and catnip when they illegally raided my home in November of 2002.
Once these legislative clowns make it illegal we will see a huge jump in its use by kids. We'll see prison imposed for possession of a geranium plant, lives ruined, forced treatment and drug court and all kinds of crazy shit that we don't see now when it is legal and not widely known all because of their raging, moralistic, hard-on to outlaw anything that might give someone else pleasure.
Will they ever learn?