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Is Salvia Legal?

Updated on January 26, 2011

In most states and municipalities of the United States, as well as in most countries of the world, both using and cultivating salvia is entirely legal. There have been a handful of countries around the globe that have banned the use of salvia. Use of the plant is restricted in Canada, Belgium, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Estonia, Japan, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. The use of salvia is also restricted in the state of Florida, as well as in some U.S. cities. However, there is very little enforcement of state and local statutes in areas where salvia is banned.

In the United States, the legality of salvia use may soon change, as a result of a recent push from concerned parents and a handful of legislators. The use of salvia among teens and young adults who crave the psychedelic and hallucinogenic effects of the plant has recently become more popular. A handful of isolated incidents and a number of extremely popular YouTube videos that feature teens using the drug have increased the public demand for further regulation of salvia.

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In Delaware, a group of parents have recently pushed for legislation to ban the use of salvia in the state. Legislation known as Brett’s Law would have made salvia a Schedule I controlled substance eligible for regulation alongside a number of other drugs. The law was named after 17 year old Brett Chidester, who committed suicide in 2006. Chidester’s parents believed that his depression was caused by long-term use of salvia, which Chidester claimed to have only “experimented” with. Chidester’s death was one of the only known cases where salvia played a role in suicide.

In the UK, a motion was introduced to Parliament in 2005 that would ban the use of salvia in the country. The measure failed, but a similar measure was later introduced in 2008 that called for further investigation into the use of salvia.

Legislation was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 to classify salvia as a Schedule I controlled substance subject to regulation by state and local law enforcement agencies. This measure also failed. However, use of salvia is banned by all branches of the U.S. military, and is prohibited on all U.S. military bases, both domestic and abroad. Besides Delaware and Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Ohio are states that have passed some form of legislation concerning the use of salvia.

Salvia leaves and extracts are widely available on the Internet for consumers of any age. However, many online vendors will not sell salvia extracts or leaves to purchasers in states where the use of salvia is restricted or prohibited.

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  • swedal profile image
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    swedal 6 years ago from Colorado

    I think you hit on it RTalloni, there are seem to be so many substances out there and at some point a person just needs to take personal responsibility for doing the right thing imo.

  • RTalloni profile image

    RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

    Whoa. I did not know this.

    I don't see how it would be possible to eradicate salvia, but education should definitely be a priority no matter what is decided legally. Thanks for the education!

    Do you suppose the measure may have failed because salvia is only one of many plants with "side-effects?"