Pubdate: Thu, 18 Dec 2008
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2008 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Alan Johnson

Psychedelic Drug


If you haven't heard of the potent psychedelic plant Salvia divinorum,
don't bother looking for it: It's on the verge of being declared
illegal in Ohio.

The Ohio House yesterday voted 90-4 to pass legislation making the
plant from the mint family a controlled substance. Ohio will become
the sixth state to make it illegal.

The bill now goes to Gov. Ted Strickland for his signature.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy is directed by the bill to develop chemical
standards for the amount of the drug in the bloodstream that would
trigger a driving-under-the-influence charge.

Rep. Thom Collier, R-Mount Vernon, sponsored the legislation after the
shooting death of a 12-year-old Loudonville boy by another youngster
who had been smoking the herb. There was no direct evidence, however,
that the shooting was drug-related.

The plant itself has been around for hundreds of years but is probably
new to most Ohioans.

Known as "the Sage of the Seers," it is indigenous to Mexico and was
and is used by shamans of the Mazatec Indians for its ability to
create visions and hallucinations. In lower doses, it is used as a
medicine for a range of ailments, from anemia to rheumatism.

Salvinorin A, the active ingredient in the plant, is a known powerful
natural hallucinogen. It is not considered an addictive drug.

Salvia is known in the drug culture for its mind-altering, psychedelic
high that users compare to LSD, although shorter acting.

It is smoked or, less often, chewed. It has become increasingly
popular and is available for purchase over the Internet and in some
"head" shops under the name Holy Smoke.

Lawmakers tacked several nonrelated items onto the bill, including one
that would allow counties to transfer jail inmates to contiguous
counties in adjoining states. 
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