Rights go up in smoke?

A salvia ban would be a step toward fewer rights, fewer tax dollars and no tolerance for anything alternative.

Authored by Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, H.F. 2975 would ban the possession or sale of salvia divinorum, a sage plant that causes a range of psychedelic effects. The plant and its active compounds are commonly marketed in a reduced, concentrated form, and if smoked can bestow an out-of-body experience, feelings of floating, laughing fits, and a sometimes-catatonic physical state. Many people find the trips introspective. Large doses in inexperienced users can cause extremely intense psychedelic episodes, which are rarely enjoyed in any social or party settings. There is no documented evidence of addictive effects, similar to reports on other psychedelic compounds like LSD and psilocin. The ban is outright inconsistent. If the legislature were as concerned with public safety as the salvia rhetoric suggests, weâÄôd see zero tolerance for operating motor vehicles under the influence of alcohol and harsher penalties for the distribution of substances to minors. This, however, is a targeted move to destroy a niche culture which has a right to exist with regulation of its practice, like the consumption of alcohol. And prohibition is costly. The scheduling of substances leads to higher law enforcement expensive and creates black markets, but the taxed availability of a substance allows for oversight. Due to a unique situation in MoorheadâÄîalong the North Dakota border where possession is a felonyâÄîsalvia is now on the chopping block. In short, the billâÄôs primary author admits that it comes at the recommendation of MoorheadâÄôs Chief of Police David Ebinger, who likely has to deal with Dakota hipsters coming across the river to trip. While the availability of salvia and the maximum concentrations allowed for sale should be regulated, the outright ban of its use is spiteful. The consumption of substances is a decision that should always be preserved within the individualâÄôs rights unless there is a compelling argument for its danger. Jon Radermacher welcomes comments at [email protected]