Feb 19, 2008
Legal pot. That's the way some describe an herb called salvia divornium, and it's perfectly legal in Alabama. It's not as common as pot, ecstasy or other mind altering substances, plus it hasn't been around this area as long. But those who use it and sell it say salvia produces the same sort of high---only it's legal in the valley.
"Salvia is an herb. It originates in mexico, it is an extract of the salvia divornium leaf which is a distant cousin to the sage, mint plant," explains Sherri Williams. Williams says salvia is one the more popular items in her adult entertainment shop called Pleasures-Two.
It's one of several herbs offered at the Valley's only hookah lounge where beer, wine and adult entertainment are also offered. "It's something new and different for huntsville to try," said Williams.
Some say salvia is similar to marijuana only it's legal in most states including Alabama. "I was a hard core pot user for many, many years and I gave that up when I had children but I've discovered salvia as something entirely different," explains Alan Wilkerson. Still a natural hallucinogen, salvia does not show up in urine, hair or blood tests and its effect doesn't last as long as marijuana. "I've had several different reactions to it on several different occasions," said Wilkerson.
Tennessee, Louisiana, Delaware, Missouri, Maine, Oklamhoma and North Dekota have laws prohibiting possession of salvia. Other states including Alabama are considering legislative bills to ban the herb. Sgt. Micheal Salomonski says, "I think the reason it's currently legal is the fact that it hasn't become a problem and the weed hasn't been analyzed."
Last year Alabama Senator Hank Erwin proposed Senate Bill 330 which would have made salvia divornium a schedule one substance. The bill died in Senate Judiciary Committee. "Because it's not a scheduled drug it's not enforceable as an arrestable offense," said Salomonski.
Sherri Williams says, "It would not shock me a bit if Alabama outlawed salvia. It would just be another thing on their list of feel good things they need to outlaw."
But for now, Williams continues to sell the herb at Pleasures two and new customers like Will Irvin keep the hookah lounge busy. "It's not as harsh as I thought it would be, but it's very nice, very pleasant taste," Irvin says.
A representative with Partnership for a Drug Free Community says last year's bill regarding salvia divornium slipped through the cracks, but a new bill to outlaw salvia has been introduced this year.
For more information go to http://www.legislature.state.al.us/