Ill. Bans Natural Hallucinogen

Defenders tout controversial herbal remedy's benefits as law closes in
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2007 10:21 AM CST
Salvia Divinorum   (Flickr)

(Newser) – An impending ban on a hallucinogenic plant used in religious ceremonies by Mazatec Indians in Mexico has defenders of the herb objecting to the fact that it's about to be illegal in Illinois. Possessing salvia divinorum will be a felony beginning Tuesday. Defenders of the herb insist it offers beneficial effects, such as stress relief and spiritual awakening.

At higher doses, the plant's leaves, which can be smoked or chewed, provide 20 minutes of hallucinations and other sensory distortions, reports the Chicago Tribune. The leaves have been available at tobacco stores, head shops, and some gas stations. "The leaf is very, very mild," said the owner of a religious-supplies store. "There's no reason to ever make it illegal."