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N.D. Senate puts brakes on this trip

BISMARCK - When Hazen (N.D.) High School Principal Ed Boger heard about a plant readily available over the Internet that, if ingested, produces intense hallucinogenic experiences, he went right to the Legislature.

BISMARCK - When Hazen (N.D.) High School Principal Ed Boger heard about a plant readily available over the Internet that, if ingested, produces intense hallucinogenic experiences, he went right to the Legislature.

Boger heard that in some places in the country, high school-age people are using the plant. So, he talked to Sen. Randy Christmann, R-Hazen, who agreed to sponsor Senate Bill 2317.

The bill adds salvia divinorum and its active ingredient, Salvinorum A, to the state's list of illegal, controlled substances.

The plant is a sage historically cultivated in Mexico for use by Aztec shamans as a spiritual drug.

Sen. Dave Oehlke, R-Devils Lake, another bill sponsor, testified the senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that the plant can cause experiences similar to LSD, gives the user the sensation of alternative realities, hallucinations and other distorted symptoms.

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"The more research I did on this, the more I don't think I'd personally recommend going for a trip on this," he said.

Oehlke and others at the hearing said they were alarmed by sellers' statements on the Internet that the plant is "100 percent legal" in all states and countries.

Coincidentally, observers at the Senate Judiciary Committee during the hearing on the bill included a class from Hazen High School. The students' social studies teacher and chaperone, Justin Ingold, said he was alarmed that "It is extremely easy to obtain" over the Internet and "in a week to 10 days, it is at your house."

The Senate committee gave the bill a do-pass recommendation immediately after taking testimony.

Cole writes for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.

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