At midnight last night, Salvia Divinorum, the mind altering Mexican plant whose use by teenagers has been sweeping the nation (if you believe the alarmed media), officially became illegal, giving some of you out there a cool, new, felony-level, drug-using past. Last March, Gov. Tim Kaine signed into law HB21, the Virginia bill criminalizing the drug. Since the beginning of this year, there has been a wave of largely hysterical media reports about the “new Marijuana” or “legal LSD” that’s threatening America’s youth. Not ones to sit on their hands while children suffer, the nation’s lawmakers leaped into action, with eight states proposing bans this year, and three (including Virginia) making it illegal, for a total of 17 states currently considering a ban, and 11 where the plant is outlawed. In addition, the country has already seen its first Salvia arrest, a 46-year-old man in North Dakota. The substance has yet to be proven to be harmful, addictive—or even all that fun.
As reported in a C-VILLE in March, Salvia was readily available in Charlottesville at Kulture, a head shop, strike that, “clothing shop” on the Corner. A call to the store 10 minutes before closing last night revealed there had been no rush for the last remaining stash by local Salvia freaks.
Nope, no end-of-an-era Salvia Madness; the last of the stock had been sent to Richmond, where it sold out immediately. Still, “ I definitely had a few people realize that it was going to be illegal [July 1] and buy it pretty recently,” the salesperson, who asked to remain anonymous, said. The drug always sold better in Richmond, he said, but “right after that article came out, we had days when we sold more Salvia than anything else in the store.” (Score one here for the power of the media!) Will Kulture miss the now taboo herb? “Yeah, I think so….We’ve been selling it for 10 years, and making money on it, and it’s gone now.”
“We never really had any habitual people that would be using it all the time come in and buy more. I think it was just more of an experiment thing. I think people will just buy it online now.”
Attention Drug Warriors: This is your newest target.