Oklahoma City – Governor Brad Henry has signed into law a bill outlawing Salvia Divinorum, also known as “Salvia” or “Magic Mint,” making Oklahoma one of the first states to ban the recreation drug.
The drug has become popular over the last few years after teens and young people began posting their first experience under the influence of Salvia on the internet.
Law enforcement officials say the drug causes the user to become incoherent or unconscious for several minutes, but those who support Salvia say it’s an herb used to enhance meditation.
It has been used for medical reasons, but when it’s smoked, it can cause users to have disturbing reactions, according to reports.
In the bill signed by the governor, Salvia is now classed as a Schedule I banned substance. The bill was signed into law June 2, 2008, after it was determined by lawmakers that it was a dangerous substance that had been popularized by the on-line video websites. The bill is now in effect.
According to reports from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, Salvia is imported into stores and marketed as a legal substitute for marijuana and has been advertised and sold on-line to attract young people as new customers.
Oklahoma joins eight other states in preventing the sale of Salvia.
Those in possession of the drug will be charged with a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and distribution carries a penalty of five years to life in prison.
“Drug Task Force officers will be treating this just as seriously as any other drug violation,” said Delaware County Investigator Ron Teel. “You get caught with it, you get busted.”