Pubdate: Wed, 26 Aug 2015
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Sam Cooley
Page: 6


Next February, the Psychedelic Plant Will Find Itself on a List of 
Controlled Drugs

A potent psychedelic herb will soon be outlawed to sell, export or 
produce, but will remain legal to simply possess, the Sun has learned.

Salvia Divinorum is a species of sage smoked or chewed by users to 
produce short-lasting but powerful visions used ritualistically by 
native groups in regions of Mexico, where the plant originates.

It's also "widely touted as a legal hallucinogen on the Internet, and 
has also been reported to be used as an alternative to illicit drugs 
among adolescents and young adults," according to Health Canada.

For four years, the Conservative government has pledged to outlaw the 
drug, highlighting its potential danger and availability to young 
people. Several years ago, a handful of smoke shops in Ottawa used to 
carry the relatively unregulated drug. Of the seven smoke shops 
contacted by the Sun Tuesday, all hadn't stocked the product in a 
long time or were under the belief salvia was already illegal.

On Feb. 8, 2016, salvia will officially be incorporated into Schedule 
IV of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA), according to an 
e-mail obtained by the Sun from Sylwia Kryszton, spokesperson for 
Health Canada.

"The (CDSA) will prohibit activities such as the trafficking, 
possession for the purpose of trafficking, importation, exportation, 
possession for the purpose of exportation, and production, of Salvia 
Divinorum, its preparations, and derivatives, unless authorized by 
regulation or via an exemption," her e-mail reads.

Next February, the psychedelic plant will find itself on a list of 
controlled drugs such as anabolic steroids and barbituate-type drugs.

"Simple possession" of drugs in Schedule IV are not prohibited by the 
law, meaning it presumably won't be a crime to own salvia in a 
negligible quantity.

Before the government decided to outlaw the drug, it asked the public 
for comments in 2011.

According to Health Canada, it received three comments supporting the 
prohibition, based on the fact the drug causes hallucinations. 
Seventy-five comments were critical of the prohibition and referred 
to lack of scientific evidence showing salvia causes harm or 
addiction to people who use it.

"Our government is committed to protecting the health and safety of 
Canadians, especially our youth, from the harmful effects of 
substance abuse. That is why we are moving forward with making salvia 
illegal," said Rona Ambrose, the federal Minister of Health.
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