Legal Status of Salvia Divinorum - United Kingdom

United Kingdom

In September 2001, in answer to a parliamentary question from Ann Widdecombe MP, asking the Secretary of State for the Home Office "what plans he has to review the legal status of the hallucinogen Salvia divinorum", Bob Ainsworth, a parliamentary Under-Secretary for the UK Home Office, stated that "The Government are not aware of any evidence of significant misuse of this plant and have no current plans to review its legal status".

Following a local newspaper story in October 2005, Bassetlaw MP John Mann raised an Early Day Motion calling for Salvia divinorum to be banned in the UK (EDM796). The motion only received 11 signatures. It was later reported that John Mann had written to the Home Secretary in October 2008, urging her to take action with regard to salvia's legal status. The same report said that the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs had met to discuss salvia, among other substances, in April 2009, and that there would be a follow-up meeting in May.

The Observer newspaper gave the content of Mann's letter to Jacqui Smith "Sadly the issue has come to light again as our young people are using the internet and sites like YouTube to broadcast their friends taking the drug and witnessing the hallucinogenic effects. Our young people are at risk and a wider cultural attachment to this drug seems to be developing that I am sure you agree - regardless of its legal status - needs nipping in the bud." Home Office minister, Phil Woolas, confirmed to parliament that the market in "legal highs" was now an issue for the government. When asked by an Ulster Unionist MP, Lady Hermon, whether the government intended to classify salvia as an illegal drug, Woolas said the home secretary had written to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the independent body that advises government on drugs, asking it to investigate. Woolas said the council had been asked to "provide advice to government on the availability and harms of psychoactive legal alternatives to illegal drugs, so-called 'legal highs', with a particular focus on protecting young people. I fully anticipate that this work will include salvia divinorum. The government's position on its control will be informed by advisory council's advice."

As of June 2012, Salvia divinorum and Salvinorum A remain legal to purchase, possess, sell, and use in the United Kingdom.

Read more about this topic:  Legal Status Of Salvia Divinorum

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