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Charbonneau: Bill Banning ‘Spice,’ Salvia in State Could Soon Be Law

April 26, 2011

04/27/11 Senate lawmakers voted 49-1 Monday in support of the final version of a proposal banning  products like ‘Spice’ and the herb salvia divinorum in Indiana, sending the enrolled act to the governor where it could be signed into law.

Senate Enrolled Act 57, co-authored by State Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), adds various chemical compounds used in synthetic cannabinoids like ‘Spice’ to the state’s controlled substances list.  A House amendment places the herb salvia divinorum – a powerful, hallucinogenic plant – on the list as well.  If enacted into the law, the same penalties for producing, delivering, dealing or possessing marijuana will be established for synthetic cannabinoids and salvia.

“Due to alarming number of emergency room visits and calls to the Poison Control Center from people who used these recreational drugs, it became clear that these products were more dangerous than what the secretive packaging would lead one to believe,” Charbonneau said. “For too long, drug dealers have skirted federal regulations by intentionally mislabeling these products. For the sake of our fellow Hoosiers, this scam will soon be stopped.”

Charbonneau said current state law bans “analog drugs” that are designed to have similar effects as illegal drugs, but a loophole exempts drugs labeled “not for human consumption” – often used on brands like ‘Spice’ and salvia products that are sold as herbal incense.

‘Spice’ and other products like ‘K2,’ ‘Voodoo Magic’ and ‘Mr. Smiley’ are blends of herbs and man-made chemicals. When smoked and inhaled, they mimic the effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, intoxication from THC can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and trouble with learning and memory functions.

Salvia divinorum and products made from the herb, like ‘Sally D.’, ‘Magic Mint’ and ‘Diviner’s Sage,’ provide quick highs comparable to LSD.

Officials from the DEA list several chemical compounds in synthetic cannabinoids and salvia as “drugs and chemicals of concern” and have been considering whether to make them controlled substances for more than five years.