Alaska Senate Bill #313

Links to Legislation

links to follow...

 

Correspondence with Alaska Senator Gene Therriault's Aide Dave Stancliff

In the first instance note that I sent a copy of Daniel Siebert's response to Joe Bacca's Congress bill of 2002 - H.R.5607 - as linked on the page <Back from here.

Dave Stancliff's initial response follows, with my further correspondence following after that, and so it goes... (my comments are shown with the silver leaf background)


Thanks for the detailed information. Even though it is prejudicial it brings to light another dimension of the substance. Unfortunately those trying to make a buck on the Internet do not respect Salvia in the same way. Nor do they advertise it in a medicinal way. They are targeting young minds and promising things that they can not deliver. In the other extreme, are parties who sell this as a spice or incense and act as if this is not intended for mind effect experiences.

What about all the inexperienced and under age people getting this without parents knowledge and using it without understanding the precautions needed? We have yet to find a person who recommends that just anybody give this a try. Only those who seem to have expanded minds and gifted intellects. The rest of the populus, they seem to feel, are out of touch and missing something because they have not discovered the wonders of Salvia. Some people feel the risks for others are worth their rewards. Because they support a substance and have had valuable experiences with it we should all feel about it as they do.

There is nothing in Senate Bill 313 that would prevent further research. Such research is underway and the results have produced enough uncertainty to see Salvia banned or more closely controlled in many countries now. I would suggest the reason that is happening is due to those outside the Mazatec culture using this substance for reasons other than religious. It is the abuse of Salvia and the proliferation of that abuse causing these restrictions. Freedoms tend to disappear when they are abused.

Sincerely,

Dave Stancliff / Aide to Senator Therriault
 

Dear Dave,

Thank you for your reply and for apparently giving the matter some consideration. It is appreciated.

I found your statement about those trying to make a buck on the internet rather sweeping however. Many Salvia vendors, like Daniel Siebert, try to encourage a more respectful approach, the majority do I would say. – Though you’d be correct to point out that this is by no means always the case.

There are less responsible traders. I would agree that anyone selling Salvia divinorum merely as incense – and thus offering no practical advice as to its powerful effects – is actually being quite irresponsible. I suspect such ploys to avoid litigation follow from traders taking legal advice, but I certainly don’t agree with these tactics, nor do I believe they’ve fully thought it through.

As for the “targeting of young minds”, I have to say I find this concern to be largely unfounded. For the most part I think this is rather fearful projection, not well substantiated when one looks at a representative cross-section of Salvia sites.

With Salvia legal as it is most traders have observed a ‘voluntary’ ban with regard to its sale to minors. Could we imagine, say, the tobacco industry showing similar self-restraint in such circumstances? In any case, I’m sure most Salvia sellers would not object to formal legal clarification in this particular area.

You mention other countries banning or closely controlling Salvia. The assumption here always seems to be that these steps must surely have followed as a consequence of proper research and reasonable interpretations drawn from good evidence. This is what makes me really despair, and why I’m so concerned about the issue, despite being on the other side of the world over here in Scotland.

For example, John Mann MP (a member of our UK parliament), has been quoted in our press warning…

"The Australians have clearly found a problem with it. There's obviously a risk in people taking it" [my italics].

In fact, if one looks further into it, one would more reasonably conclude that Australia’s ban was actually made without proper consultation, by an unelected committee (their National Drugs and Poisons Schedule Committee), and without any real knowledge of what they were legislating against. – Using incorrect technical terminology apparently copied from various (and less than authoritative) websites and Salvia forums, for example, and dismissively stating "There was no evidence of traditional therapeutic use other than in shamanistic healing rituals." – Which begs the question, does a shamanistic healing ritual not count as a traditional therapeutic use then?

Australia was the first country to ban Salvia divinorum. How others could have so unquestioningly followed suit I would suggest has got far more to do with reaction to media hysteria, and the domino effect, than any commensurate or proportional response to the actual risks.

I am not saying that you or anyone else should feel the same way about Salvia as do its advocates (it’s not as if any of us are asking that it be made compulsory after all), but neither do I believe that it’s justifiable to enact or support prohibitive legislation which simply panders to others prejudice and cultural bias.

Thank you again for your time and consideration so far.


You're welcome.

I am a 60's child who somehow managed to survive and can still remember those days. I know the ill effects of alcohol. As for drugs in general I have chosen to face life without them. I have many friends who have chosen differently and sadly so.

I just spent over an hour reading feedback and chat amongst those who use Salvia. Their comments to each other are hard for a straight mind to comprehend. I would say if condemnation of Salvia occurs it will be through the communications of those who have experienced it. If the most ardent travellers have so much negative to say, it will be hard for advocates to overcome.

There are many ways to expand life's experiences and more than a few are very safe. Any type of chemical, natural or otherwise, used to alter the workings of the mind tends to frighten people who have a tough enough time dealing with day to day challenges with unaltered mental faculties. Is reality actually for those who can't handle drugs? It appears some people do feel that way. Is there a way for those who are straight to understand those who choose to bend their minds?

Questions of individual responsibility vs.collective notions of the common good do often create huge tensions. The question our policy makers will consdier is the value of Salvia to certain individuals vs. the concern with the proliferation of substance abuse throughout society. I honestly do not know how the legislature will act on this topic. I am providing information from a wide range of sources for them to consider as well as encouraging an educational process.

Most Repectfully,

Dave

Dear Dave,

Can you let me know what safeguards you can bring into the legislation to ensure that responsible and otherwise law-abiding citizens are not persecuted for their sacramental use of Salvia divinorum?

Thank you. ~ R