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Salvia Divinorum: MN Senate Votes to Criminalize Little-known Herb

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Salvia Divinorum: MN Senate Votes to Criminalize Little-known Herb

Post by North Star 1 on April 13th 2010, 9:10 am

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would criminalize a little-known herb called salvia divinorum.

The bill's author, Republican Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen of Alexandria, is trying to put a stop to what he said could become a major problem in Minnesota.

"Minnesota is a little island up here in the midwest where it's [Salvia Divinorum] is still legal," Sen. Ingebrigtsen said.

Nineteen states have made the herb illegal, including North and South Dakota, but now the herb is becoming more popular in Minnesota.

Teens nationwide are using salvia divinorum more than ecstasy, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

"It gives about a 30 minute real blast high, hallucination, euphoric feeling," Ingebrigtsen explained.

He said this psychedelic herb is available for anyone to buy online. KSAX-TV found several websites that sell the herb. It can be smoked or chewed, and people even drink the plant's juices.

The bill from Sen. Ingebrigtsen would punish possession or sale of salvia divinorum with up to a year in jail, fines of up to $3,000 or both.

The bill passed on a voice vote.

"We just decided for a change as lawmakers, at least I've gotten everyone to agree with me so far, let's get ahead of the problem instead of react to a problem once it's already a major problem," Ingebrigtsen said.

The senator said the herb is a big problem up in Moorhead, Minn. and could spread quickly throughout the state.

"They're really seeing a lot of problems on the border cities," he said.

The dangers of the herb haven't been investigated extensively, but NIDA said it's dangerous to drive while high on salvia divinorum.

"Some criminal informants tell us that they tried it once and were so scared they will never try it again," Ingebrigtsen said.

The Senate also approved legislation to give bong smokers a slight break - authorities couldn't count the weight of bong water when determining how much of a drug they possess.

The bill is going through quickly and is widely approved, according to Ingebrigtsen. If the bill goes to the senate floor and is approved it will go right to the governor's desk for signing.

Written for the web by Megan Matthews.

video link.
http://ksax.com/article/stories/S1486542.shtml?cat=10263

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_divinorum
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