Senate Votes To Ban Salvia Divinorum

John J. Flanagan

June 07, 2005

Working aggressively to ban the sale of an increasingly popular party scene drug, Senator John J. Flanagan (R,C-East Northport) today announced that the New York State Senate has passed legislation he sponsored to ban the sale of Salvia Divinorum in New York State.

"This drug is rapidly increasing in popularity among recreational drug users especially among young adults and adolescents," said Senator Flanagan. "It is a drug that produces hallucinations similar to those experienced by LSD and it is readily available and legally for sale on the Internet."

"As a father of three children, I am deeply concerned that kids are being attracted to this drug because of its promotion on the Internet. The public needs to realize that just because Salvia Divinorum is for sale on the Internet does not mean that it is safe. This is a substance currently listed as a "chemical of concern" by the Drug Enforcement Administration," Flanagan said.

Salvia Divinorum, also known as Diviner’s Sage, Sister Salvia, Ska Maria Pastora or simply salvia, is a psychoactive plant from the mint family. According to the DEA Salvia divinorum is chewed or smoked to induce illusions and hallucinations, the diversity of which is described by users as similar to those induced by ketamine, mescaline, or psilocybin. It’s currently under review by the medical and scientific community to determine if it should be a controlled substance.

Flanagan noted that his office found dozens of web sites offering Salvia Divinorum for sale and tips on how to best use it. Included among them are: Dr. Bong’s Cannabis Imporium, Just Say Once to Salvia, Grass City, Marijuana Alternatives, The Shroomery, Tripzone, and the Stop Drug War.

Under Flanagan’s bill, the General Business Law will be amended to prohibit the sale of Salvia Divinorum in New York State. Violators will be subject to up to a $500 civil penalty.

"This is an interim measure to raise awareness of the drug and allow law enforcement and science to continue further study before we engage in full criminalization," Flanagan said. "This step will allow for further investigation while giving localities a reasonable weapon in protecting its citizens."

Flanagan said the drug has been banned in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Italy and South Korea, and Finland has restricted its importation. Missouri and Louisiana have introduced legislation to ban the drug and St. Peter’s, Missouri has passed a municipal ordinance prohibiting sale to minors under 17. The United States Congress has introduced legislation to schedule salvia as a controlled substance but it has not yet been enacted.