Sunday, July 06, 2008

Drug Busts Gone Wild?

In 1996, the NYPD was ridiculed for going too far in busting head shops selling paraphernalia that could be considered legal. Click here to read the New York Times story.

That was then. This is now. This year's hot drug is Salvia, a relative of mint and sage that causes a powerful psychedelic experience. Despite its ability to deliver an experience as strong as LSD, salvia is legal. Why? Perhaps it is because its effects only last up to an hour or because it causes its user to become introspective rather than causing him to jump off a building in an attempt to fly. A more likely explanation, though, is that salvia's long-term effects are not yet known. There is currently no evidence that it is addictive, and in the hundreds of years Mexican indians have used the herb, no complications or harmful consequences have been reported. We currently do not know how exactly salvia works. It does not involve dopamine or other neurotransmitters researched so far.

The government is researching salvia to find out more, but I have to wonder if it is reasonable to ban salvia. It is not a party drug. People who attempt to use it as such do not buy it a second time. The "buzz" is short-lived, and the chances of anyone doing anything illegal under the influence is slim, considering users are nearly inanimate and stuck in their own dimension during the spell. I would argue that if a person wants a 10-minute artistic or philosophical experience in his or her own home, at no risk to others, it should not be the business of the government to regulate that. I mean, knowing as little about it as we do, who am I to tell Hank from the Village that he shouldn't get to see the world in 2-D? However, some states, including Missouri and Louisiana, have already discussed bills on banning the sale of salvia. I would argue this attention is not merited, and unless a real health risk is involved, the government should not even touch it. But enough about me. What do you think? Should the magic mint be prohibited?

1 comment:

Contagious said...

Way to have your finger on the pulse of civil liberties.

Is crackdown the right word to use in the Times piece?

I would like to know what happens to all the "confiscated" merchandise.

I've found that for a psychedelic experience, I can eat something before I go to bed and have the strangest dreams.

It always amazes me how certain drugs are demonized, while others, which are significantly more harmful, are sold openly.