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Summary: Some parties note that Salvia divinorum can induce hallucinogenic high. HB criminalizes the transfer and possession of Salvia divinorum.
Analysis: TPPA does not support or condone the use of Salvia divinorum. However, we are not persuaded that there is sufficient evidence of the dangers of this substance to warrant making use or possession a criminal offense. Salvia divinorum has not been demonstrated to cause a single death and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration has chosen not to classify Salvia divinorum a controlled substance. This bill is an example of overcriminialization because it will take a substance that is fully legal today and make it a felony offence upon enactment. Even if one supports making this substance illegal, it is clear that the proposed punishment far exceeds the offense.
Furthermore, while the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) has indicated this legislation will have no significant impact on the state, we respectfully disagree. A Class A misdemeanor carries possible jail time and a felony carries certain jail time. This legislation has the potential to create significantly more felons which will increase the prison population, placing a greater burden on taxpayers.
Finally, we note that the Legislature has considered this issue in previous sessions and has chosen not to ban the Salvia divinorum. We believe the previous Legislatures wisely recognized that use of this substance is not a wide spread problem in need of a state solution that includes a felony penalty. We oppose HB 124