The California Legislature plans to restrict the sale of salvia, a currently legal hallucinogenic drug, to people ages 18 and over.
But the proposed regulation should be only part of a broader effort both to discourage use of the drug and to research its health consequences.
Under the proposed legislation, selling the drug to a minor would result in $1,000 in fines or six months in jail, but would not punish minors for buying the drug or do anything else to dissuade minors from consuming it.
Salvia regulation needs to be holistic, including giving minors practical and truthful information about the consequences of consuming the drug, further researching its health effects, and taxing the sale of it to make it too expensive for minors to become dependent on, should they manage to buy it.
The current regulations on tobacco, specifically cigarettes, should serve as a model for salvia regulation. Part of what makes the regulation of cigarettes so effective is the extensive supporting body of research which illustrates associated health risks.
Throwing legislation at cigarettes was not enough to stop people from smoking, and the same may apply to salvia. California needs to address salvia before it becomes detrimental in the same way cigarettes historically have.