Outlawed drug still legal in NZ

By Alfa · Aug 1, 2008 · ·
  1. Alfa
    Outlawed drug still legal in NZ

    The Dominion Post | Friday, 01 August 2008

    A potent hallucinogenic drug, banned in Australia and being progressively outlawed in the United States, will remain legal in New Zealand.

    Salvia divinorum, a herb from the sage family that Mazatec Indians in Mexico have long used for spiritual and healing purposes, appears set to be regulated instead of banned.

    Associate Health Minister Jim Anderton said he would soon consider recommending salvia divinorum be regulated "in line with expert recommendations".

    It would not be banned, he said. "Evidence shows it is a psychoactive drug that should be regulated."

    The drug, bought in powder form and often chewed or smoked through a water pipe, has similar hallucinogenic qualities to magic mushrooms and lsd. Its effects are relatively short and can put users in a dream-like state, prompting visual and auditory hallucinations.

    It has become more popular in New Zealand since the banning of BZP party pills this year. Its profile has also increased thanks to numerous YouTube videos that show teenagers laughing uncontrollably, falling over and unable to hold conversations.

    In the US it has been banned or heavily regulated in about 20 states, and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill last week that made it illegal to sell the drug to people under the age of 18. Australia banned salvia divinorum in 2002 and Italy made its sale and possession illegal in 2005.

    Mr Anderton, who pushed through the BZP ban, said salvia divinorum was of "low risk and should not be classified like BZP at this time".

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  1. lostmente
    swim doesn't believe salvia is being used as an alternative, predominantly there is still a massive underground market for BZP products, mostly at the same retailers that sold them legally.

    Salvia isn't a particularly viewed well in the general public, party pills (BZP) were used for just what they were called, mostly as a way of drinking more booze. Salvia being a less than 10min high for the most part that kind of shatters your connection to reality is something the 'lets get wasted' groups either use to embarris people (sort of rite of passage) or as a blitz to the end of the night.
  2. kaczynski
    SWIM doesn't understand what all the fuss is about salvia. Minimum of 18 years old isn't that unreasonable, but it's such a tame, harmless substance. Hardly seems worth the trouble, but the crusaders will obviously go after anything they have a shot at.
  3. Alfa
    I would not call it a 'tame' substance. It is one of the most intense experiences. Thats why I agree it should be available above 18 years only. The youtube kids video show exactly why.
    Crusaders will go after every legal drug one by one. This is not just politicians playing the tough on drugs card to get votes. Anti-drugs NGO's (Non Government Organizations) are playing their game and it is leading to the ban of many substances.

    And its the same game many times. It starts with a kids suicide that may be tied to a drug. Then these crusaders work the family to start a campaign against the drug. The dead kid becomes their poster boy. They work their media contacts and politicians to push for a ban. Media rules in most democracies and politicians bow to that pressure. So with salvia there was Bret's law, referring to the dead kid. When one ban is through they then use this as an argument in other areas. It is already banned in A, so why isn't it banned here yet?

    The anti-drug NOG's have organized themselves and have found a lot of funding.

    I am convinced that if the pro-drug NGO's do not organize and professionalize themselves, get funding and start their own tactics, then the current trend of more and more substances getting banned will intensify, until not much is left.
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