House OKs Corvese's bill to ban hallucinogenic substances

House OKs Corvese's bill to ban hallucinogenic substances

PROVIDENCE - The House of Representatives last Wednesday approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Arthur Corvese to include the hallucinogenic drugs salvia divinorum and jimsom weed as Schedule 1 controlled substances under state law.

The legislation is meant to target unregulated substances that are being sold to give users a high, according to a news release. Corvese said the drugs can be found at some convenience stores and gas stations, and their availability can give people the false impression that the high they get is somehow safe. "Unregulated hallucinogens are not safe, and we should treat these drugs as the dangerous substances they are," he said in a statement. "As long as these substances aren't illegal, even children can walk into their local corner store and walk out with a drug that could cause them serious harm."

Corvese, a Democrat representing House District 55 in North Providence, said salvia divinorum is an herb that can be used as a hallucinogen. Jimson weed, or datura stramonium, is also used as a hallucinogen, and can be "fatally toxic."

Although neither of the drugs is currently banned under federal law, several states have taken action to control the them due to reports of abuse.

Last year, Rhode Island leaders added synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic substances with more dangerous side effects than the naturally occurring drug they mimic, to the state's Schedule 1 list. Those were also available at gas stations and convenience stores.

Adding the drugs to Schedule 1 bans their possession, production and sale, and makes violations subject to the same penalties as those for marijuana and other drugs.

Corvese's legislation is cosponsored by Rep. William O'Brien, of House District 54 in North Providence, among others.