Schedule I hallucinogenic drugs; includes salvia divinorum and salvinorin A thereas. (HB21)

Introduced By

Del. John O'Bannon (R-Richmond)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Salvinorum A as a Schedule I hallucinogenic. Includes salvia divinorum and salvinorum A, the active ingredient of the salvia divinorum plant, in controlled substance Schedule I as hallucinogenic drugs. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


11/29/2007Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 083106664
11/29/2007Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
12/05/2007Impact statement from VCSC (HB21)
01/10/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB21)
01/10/2008Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions with amendment (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/11/2008Read first time
01/14/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB21E)
01/14/2008Read second time
01/14/2008Committee amendment agreed to
01/14/2008Engrossed by House as amended HB21E
01/14/2008Printed as engrossed 083106664-E
01/15/2008Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
01/15/2008VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/16/2008Communicated to Senate
01/16/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
01/16/2008Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/14/2008Reported from Education and Health (15-Y 0-N)
02/15/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (38-Y 1-N)
02/18/2008Read third time
02/18/2008Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N)
02/19/2008Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB21ER)
02/19/2008Impact statement from VCSC (HB21ER)
02/19/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB21ER)
02/20/2008Signed by Speaker
02/22/2008Signed by President
03/02/2008G Approved by Governor-Chapter 58 (effective 7/1/08)
03/02/2008G Approved by Governor-Chapter 59 (effective 7/1/08)
03/04/2008G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0059)


Linda Powell writes:

Salvia is easier for teens to access than cigarettes, marijuana, or alcohol and is far more debilitating. Because this drug is not widely known by adults, parents do not know to be on the lookout for it and head shop owners do not hesitate to sell salvia to underage teens. As a parent and a concerned member of the community, I STRONGLY support adding Salvinorum A to the list of Schedule I hallucinogenics.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Really? Easier to access than cigarettes? Or marijuana? I'd love to see some data supporting that.

Gerbera writes:

I haven't seen salvia in Virginia, but I haven't really been into any head shops here. In my travels, I've seen it openly displayed in North Carolina and know it's available in South Carolina.

The thing about salvia is that most people who try it once never, ever want to come near it again. It's a rare person that wants to experience salvia again and it is NOT a party drug by any stretch. It is literally debilitating.

It is a hallucinogen, but I wouldn't put it in the same class as psilocybin mushrooms.

Tim McCormack writes:

@Linda: Debilitating? More so than cigarettes or alcohol?

Also, from what I understand, most people who try it don't even like it, and never try it again. (Usually produces rather unsettling hallucinations, according to what I read on Erowid.)

Gerbera writes:

It's debilitating in that the user is usually on the floor, unable to move for 30-90 seconds. In their mind, from what I've heard from one person with experience, the user believe that 30-90 seconds was anywhere from a few minutes to an hour...maybe more. I don't think the physical effects last, but I imagine the experience I described does a number on your mind.

Long term, I'd say that alcohol and nicotine have a more profound effect because sustained use is common.

John W writes:

This drug does not belong on schedule I, which is for things with a high potential for abuse and no known medical use.

Salvia divinorum has low abuse potential because no one ever wants to try it again after the first time.

Additionally, adding it to schedule I makes it very difficult to do research on it. It has no known medical purpose, people will say years from now; but of course it has no known purpose if we ban research on it.

It's absurd to ban everything you don't understand.

Nick K writes:

I agree with John W above.

There is no evidence (that I have seen) that there is a potential for abuse (has anyone been addicted to this substance? please come forward), and so does not belong on schedule I. There also has been very limited scientific studies on the active chemical Salvinorin-A and we have little idea of how it acts, let alone if it's useful. Placing salvia on the schedule I list will needlessly hamper any efforts to study this chemical.

Brian writes:

I think there needs to be some actual research on this. They're taking a huge leap based on myths and assumptions. Some places offer it as a marijuana substitute, so why consider this non-addictive and short term substance as a schedule I?

Evan Blackwell writes:

I'm curious as to what exactly will happen to those who currently possess Salvia? Will they have some grace period to dispose of it or will they all immediately be felons?

Andy writes:

Well, I guess we can add one more item to the list of myopic, flawed drug policies in this country. Debilitating? Hardly. Lasting effects? None. Absolutely none that have been proven by any reputable medical authority... or unreputable ones for that matter.

Our nation's drug policy suffers the critical flaw of giving no consideration to any party with first person experience. I have personally explored salvia use on over 15 different occasions over the course the last 5 years and I currently enjoy perfect physical health. At an active dose of less than a quarter of a gram(smoked), that means my entire history of salvia use has placed less smoke and harmful biproducts into my system than one cigarette.

Alcohol causes liver damage, creates physical addiction, and can place the drinker in a state of reckless intoxication for hours at a time.

Salvia, on the other hand, has no potential for physical addiction, no reputation of psychological addiction, introduces less toxins than a single cigarette, and creates a period of "intoxication" for a maximum of 20-30 minutes.

And Ive never heard a single person who claimed the ability to drive while under the influence of salvia, whereas I have friends who have been killed because drunks think they can drive just fine.

Here's the difference between drugs like tobacco or alcohol and herbs like salvia. Alcohol and tobacco are used to curb stress and anxiety, to help one relax and accept the problems of life. Sacred plants, like salvia, cause people to examine existance and question the world that we usually take for granted. Our government has made it clear, time and again, that it doesnt want us to think, or ask questions of our status quo.

Alcohol and cigarettes are the pacifiers of a small-minded populous. They are, in short, tools of control, which is why they will undoubtedly remain legal.

I dont smoke cigarettes and barely ever drink, because I care about my health, emotional well being, and mental functioning. I exercise frequently and stick to a strict vegetarian diet.
Im not the type of person who takes lightly any chemical I ingest.

I am person who sees the danger in overly agressive drug laws, made for the sole purpose of padding the wallets of the profiteers behind the private prison-industrial complex.

Scheduling salvia is not substance control, it's mind control.

Aaron Burr writes:


Linda Powell's concerns are, of course, baseless and puritanical. Prohibition is not the answer. Why do we always seek to BAN something that we think is dangerous? Why not spend our tax dollars in a positive way like, for example, creating public service announcements or education programs to inform people about the so called dangers from this plant. By labeling Salvia as illegal and akin to PCP and LSD, we create a TABOO which, in fact, guarantees that kids will abuse it.

Remember that we arrived at this point in our history (i.e., wasting BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of dollars per year on a worthless so called War on Drugs) by listening to mindless nuts like Linda Powell who want to impose their prohibitionist (and likely right-wing religious) ideals on the rest of us.

Get a hobby Linda, take up basket weaving, just do anything except comment on an issue that you obviously no nothing about.

My fellow citizens, time is running out. If you cared enough about this issue to look up this bill, please call your Senator or Governor Kaine and make it clear that this bill should be killed.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

You sure made a lot of assumptions about her based on a single, rather simple comment. It's great to disagree with folks -- that's what we're all here for :) -- but there's no need for all of that.

Aaron Burr writes:

If people like Linda Powell are unable to take the proverbial heat for pushing to undermine our fundamental (and natural law) rights, she needs to get out of the kitchen.

Public shaming and aggressive protest is about the only thing we have left to curb the zeal of those who seek at every turn to have the government fulfill their duty to properly raise and supervise their children.

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them" - Thomas Jefferson

EROCx1 writes:

Multiple scientific studies and user reports have indicated that divinorum most commonly demonstrates antidepressant effects on the user. These studies also show a significant potential in treating addiction of illegal and harmful substances. I do agree teens should NOT have access to Salvia divinorum. However it should NOT be labeled a dangerous drug as it is not toxic, not addictive and no negative side effects have been scientifically proven. It should NOT be made illegal as it has a unique pharmacology with more potential to benefit mankind, then it has to harm it. Every effort should be made to maintain the legality of this plant and its constituents. Remember that laws such as schedule I means that Salvia divinorum will be no longer available for scientific research, which would be a shame due to its rare constituents.

Salvia divinorum is not addictive. If anyone uses it in an addictive manner they are most likely addicted to perturbing their consciousness or to “escaping” reality. Thus, if a safe, non-toxic, non-addictive plant such as Salvia divinorum is made illegal. These people will just turn to other legal and easy to access dangerous substances such as paint or glue sniffing, prescription medications abuse, DXM cough syrup, binge drinking, computer duster / Inhalant Abuse, Poppy seed tea, etc. Or even worse, turn to illegal drugs which are far more dangerous and could lead to destructive and criminal lifestyles. Regulation of Salvia instead of prohibition is really the best way to go. Ban the sale to minors in a manner consistent with how beer and cigarettes are sold.

Blain writes:

This bill is ludicrous. 1. this is not addictive. 2. No one is going to abuse this stuff. 3. Anyone who does this is likely to have a life changing experience and learn from it. 4. This is a raw plant that grows naturally. I can go pick this freely in nature. You cannot ban nature. 5. What's next? Banning poppy seeds? Banning eagles? Banning rabbits?
The guy writing this bill is a dolt. He obviously has no idea what this stuff is or where it comes from or its history. A drug? Ridiculous. This stuff can make people stop using drugs. You want to put someone in jail for this? Wow.

Aaron Burr writes:

The realy scary thing is that it passed the VA House UNAMINOUSLY!

Even my own Delegate Admundson, who I previously thought had a brain, voted for this piece of garbage.

If you live in Virginia, you need to call your local state senator and Governor Kaine's office and make your views against this stupid piece of legislation known.

Douglas Willinger writes:

salvia divinorium writes:

Salvia divinorium will get banned then kids will find something else..

Aaron Burr writes:

There is no need to be defeatist about this measure...YET!

If you took the time to post, you should take the time to call your VA senator and Gov. Kaine's office to voice your opposition to this stupid (and unconstitutional) bill!

Evan B writes:

Was this bill amended to include only salvinorin and not Salvia Divinorum the plant? I'm looking at the text of the bill right now and it appears it was amended.

Tim McCormack writes:

So, I suppose the only thing left is for Kaine to sign it. *sigh* Yet more fuel for the drug war.

I don't suppose Kaine has the option to veto/not sign? There's way more than a supermajority in the House and Senate, but I'm not familiar enough with VA gov't to know if that matters.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

In this week's C-Ville Weekly, J. Tobias Beard has an extensive article about salvia divinorum, including his description of using it himself. Which, incidentally, answers my question about how easily salvia is obtained, which is to say very, very easily.

Slava writes:

The irony of this is that I should have been aware of this bill when it was introduced in January and not in April. Since I am a publisher of "salvia divinorum" magazine, created and a moderator of SalviaD_Alliance forum on Yahoo, I should have been the one to know and do something about it. Unfortunately, that lgislative measure had a very very very low profile. Even today, while searching the Internet, I can not find any evidence of public discussions or just the reasons and arguments that John M. O'Bannon, III used to pursure Virginia legislators to vote for his bill.
Please, help me. Maybe we can introduce another bill that will overturn HB21. Evidently, the senators and representative don't care what it is - 100% voted for adding Salvia divinorum to Schedule 1, but I do.


Aaron Burr writes:

Good luck on that one buddy. What is clear to me from this episode and Mr. Jacquith's posting above is that he is in bed with the prohibitionist morons that are unfortunately running our Commonwealth (and our country). Good luck enforcing this law Virginia. I am sure that Washington and Jefferson would be proud that you are extending the unconstitutional so called "War on Drugs" even further. What a complete and total joke!

Crystal writes:

To make this herb illegal is interferring with the right to choose for religious practices and health. This herb dates back to the aztecs and is used today by Hispanic catholics, shamans, and holy persons to have visions of the Holy Mother and vision quest. There is a scientific documentary on my website about its history, uses both modern and ancient, done by 4 scientist and psycolgists in England. They are informed, it is made without religous bias and mis-information, nor religious discrimination. The vast majority of persons that buy it from us, are professionals and many are women who also use if for medicial purposes such as depression and PMS, as salvia is an anti depressant. I urge you to hold a public meeting on this sacred herb before making it illegal. You should also know that it does not meet any of the rules set down by the Federal Analog Drug Act to that would make this herb a restrictive drug. I am calling for a law suit to overturn making this herb illegal on the grounds of discrimination based on religion in states where it has been illegal to possess. Regulating it (over 18 or 21) would save tax papers millions as opposed to making it illegal (cost the courts, police, jails, etc would be in the millions not to mention the lose of sales tax revenue). I do believe regulating it for 18 or 21 is a good idea, but to make it illegal is religous dicrimination, period. Crystal/TCG

Mike C writes:


All ya'll who are so upset that it's becoming illegal--how many attended committee public hearings and spoke out in opposition to a ban?

Or rather: can anyone tell me if ANYONE bothered to oppose the ban at public hearing?

If not, if there was no one there to set the record straight, is it any wonder the committee fell for misrepresentations from the pro-ban side?

Greg writes:

One thing I would like to point out in regard to the ingestion of Salvia is that, the method emploied by recreational users to obtain psychoactiv affects may be adding to the safety risks. The majority of users who try Salvia are bying a prepparation of the plant that includes the extraction of Salvinerin A from several other leaves, and adding this rezzin to one leafe. This is done to increase the potency of the substance. Furthermore, people are taking this preparation and smoking it, delivering this fast acting and debilitating experience. What people are not taking in to account is that traditionally Salvia is consumed by roling several pares of leaves in to a silinder shaped object called a quid. This is then slowly eaten over an extended period. This method of consumption delivers a more gental, (although from what I've read it is still rather powerful) experience, with a longer duration. Not only are possible medical benafits being ignored, but so are alternative methods of injestion. This is how the mazitecs used the plant in healing and divination serimonies. While I don't expect everyone to steap themselves in Mazitec traditions, we can learn a lot from their aproaches to mind altering substances such as Salvia and Psylociben mushrooms.