Methamphetamine. Cocaine. LSD.
We've all heard how dangerous, even deadly, these drugs can be. But have you heard of salvia divinorum? It's an herb, but some call it the world's most potent natural hallucinogen.
The legal status of Salvia divinorum varies from country to country. It was not until the 1990s that this plant's properties became widely known through the experiment and report of ethnobotanist and salvia advocate Daniel Siebert.
Press accounts of efforts to ban Salvia often quote law enforcement and government officials who frequently characterize the drug as being similar to LSD or marijuana.
Users of Salvia divinorum typically disagree with such comparisons and criticize these types of reports as sloppy or sensationalistic journalism. Unlike marijuana, Salvia has a nondescript appearance (being in the same genus as cooking sage, can be grown in a small space, has no odor and requires no elaborate lighting set-up.
Before the late 1980s, not many people knew about the herb Salvia. The fact that the plant was not prohibited along with the rise of the Internet since the mid-1990s saw the growth of many businesses selling dried Salvia leaves, extracts and other preparations.
Unlike marijuana, Salvia has a nondescript appearance (being in the same genus as cooking sage), can be grown in a small space, has no odor and requires no elaborate lighting set-up. For these reasons, criminalization is likely to affect only the commercial sale of the plant, and not its private cultivation, which would be very difficult to police.
There are legislative controls of Salvia in one form or another in some countries including, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Italy, North Korea and some of the United States.
On Nov.. 28, 2006, the morning after initial stories were broadcast on local news channel KSL , House Representative Paul Ray proposed legislation to ban Salvia divinorum in the State of Utah, saying - "It was upsetting to see we have a drug of that strength that's legal." and "We're basically going to make it illegal to possess or sell. Period."
Salvia is still legal in most states, including Utah. And it's something most adults have never even heard of. So ABC 4 wanted to find out how easy it is to buy it right in our own backyard.
Many wonder what could really be wrong with a natural herb that is actually a cousin of the sage plant. But some who smoke it say it can cause extreme visualization and hallucination, even intense laughter and meditational epiphanies.
Police and officials say that it's so important for parents to know what can happen when salvia falls into inexperienced or irresponsible hands.
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