The Pennsylvania house has approved a bill that makes synthetic marijuana, salvia divinorum and bath salts illegal in the state. The measure originally focused only on Salvia divinorum or sage. After moving through committee last month, synthetic marijuana and bath salts or synthetic cocaine were added to the bill. Bill sponsor RosieMarie Swanger says she was happy to have the other substances added to her bill. “It was a convenient vehicle at the time to get it all done under one bill,” says Swanger. “They are all very harmful substances and need to be outlawed because people are committing suicide in some cases after the use of these substances.” Other bills dealing individually with bath salts and synthetic marijuana continue to make their way through the legislature.
Swanger says despite the confusing names, Pennsylvanians do not need to worry about accidently purchasing a drug, “Salvia divinorum is a different variety of sage than the herb we buy in the store or drink in sage tea. You can’t really buy it in places other than head shops. And bath salts is the name given to this synthetic cocaine which is a fine white powder just like the real cocaine.” She says it looks nothing like the bath salts you might actually add to your bath.
Swanger introduced a similar bill last year but it did not make it out of committee. She says the biggest difference between this year and last year is the party in power. “I’m a Republican and we now have a Republican majority so we are moving our member’s bills to a greater extent than they were moved under the other leadership,” says Swanger.
The measure now goes to the senate.