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2003 Cognitive Liberty News

December 24, 2003
Court Plants Red Cross in the War on Marijuana
By Richard Glen Boire, California Daily Journal, Wed. Dec. 24, 2003
Last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal criminal laws against marijuana are unconstitutional when applied to sick people who are using the drug with their doctor's approval in accordance with state law. Raich v. Ashcroft, 2003 U.S.App.LEXIS 25317 (9th Cir. Dec. 16, 2003).... Arresting and terrorizing patients like Raich in the name of the war on drugs is like arresting Vicodin-taking cancer patients because other people, like Rush Limbaugh, use it for non-medical purposes. It turns logic on its head.  >> Read More

December 23, 2003
Memory Erasing, Coming Soon Says Cognitive Liberty Group
Paycheck Movie Raises Important Mental Rights Concerns, Experts Say
What if you could take a pill that would safely erase unwanted memories? Experts at the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics (CCLE) say that memory-erasing drugs are on the way, and they question whether the legal system is prepared to deal with the changes such drugs will bring. >> Read More

December 17, 2003
Court: Federal Government Cannot Prohibit
Patients’ Use of Medical Marijuana

Yesterday, a federal appeals court ruled that federal drug laws prohibiting the use or cultivation of marijuana are unconstitutional when applied to medical patients in California who are using marijuana with their doctor’s approval. The momentous decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has far reaching implications and can potentially apply to similarly situated patients in the six other states that allow the use of medical marijuana within the Ninth Circuit (Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon and Washington).  >> Read More

December 9, 2003
Recent Neuroscience Articles
Intensify Need for "Freedom of Thought" Updating

Four new articles underscore why the CCLE is working so hard to update the fundamental right to "freedom of thought" to include brain privacy, autonomy, and choice (i.e., "cognitive liberty"). Increasingly, scientists are identifying the functional neurochemistry that underlies our thought processes, including religious experiences. In addition, drugs and other devices that target and disrupt the central nervous system are increasingly being explored for their potential to serve as weapons and policing aids. As this process accelerates, traditional legal rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and privacy, will have to evolve in tandem by acknowledging and protecting an equally fundamental, but underlying, right to cognitive liberty. Failure to make this move will result in: (1) losing cherished rights we currently enjoy, and (2) foreclosing opportunities for expanding how and what we think. >> Read More

December 1, 2003
The Future of Drug Testing
Wired Magazine reports on a new drug-detection patch under development by SpectRx. "For the monitor to work, employees first have to have four microscopic holes -- about the size of a human hair -- burnt into the outer layer of their skin by a handheld laser... The oval patch houses a miniature vacuum pump that sucks out interstitial fluid, a clear, water-like fluid that surrounds cells in the body.") When a drug is detected, a miniature transmitter sends out an alert signal. >> Read More

November 20, 2003
Insufficient Memory
Can a pill boost your brain’s ability to hold information?

Just around the corner looms a brave new world where people of all ages could reach for a pill that would strengthen the brain, enabling it to learn faster and make the lessons last. Swallowing pills to make learning easier or to make memories stick is no longer pie-in-the-sky thinking. Scientists have learned so much about the way the human brain learns and remembers that they are fashioning the first generation of memory enhancers. >> Read More

November 17, 2003
Where is the real Matrix?
Neural implant devices are now a reality. But misguided federal policies are keeping them from the people who need them
. >> Read More

November 13, 2003
Devices that read human thought now possible,
study says/Brain implants could help severely disabled

New Orleans -- Less than a month after a widely heralded experiment showed how thought-reading implants can work in monkeys, scientists presented new findings Sunday suggesting such machines could work in people, too. >> Read More

November 11, 2003
Pill May Help People Overcome Fears
NEW ORLEANS - Scientists say a pill may help people overcome their worst phobias. In a small study released Monday, a drug already on the market for tuberculosis helped people who were terrified of heights get over that fear with only two therapy sessions instead of the usual seven or eight. >> Read More

October 28, 2003
There's a Sucker Born in Every Medial Prefrontal Cortex

Measuring brand influence might seem like an unusual activity for a neuroscientist, but ... a growing breed of researchers ... are applying the methods of the neurology lab to the questions of the advertising world. Some of these researchers...are purely academic in focus, studying the consumer mind out of intellectual curiosity, with no corporate support. Increasingly, though, there are others--like several of the researchers at the Mind of the Market Laboratory at Harvard Business School--who work as full-fledged ''neuromarketers,'' conducting brain research with the help of corporate financing and sharing their results with their sponsors. >> Read More

October 16, 2003
Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness
Today the President's Council on Bioethics released what will surely be an influential report on using medicines and other technologies for enhancement rather than therapeutic purposes. Wrye Sententia, CCLE co-director, presented written and spoken testimony to the Council in October 2002. The CCLE will be preparing a commentary on the report. >> Read More

October 14, 2003
Supreme Court Declines to Hear Government Appeal in Medical Marijuana Case: Affirms First Amendment Rights of Doctors and Patients
In a victory for medical marijuana proponents, the United States Supreme Court today declined to hear the government’s appeal in Walters v. Conant, a case in which California physicians challenged the federal government’s attempts to revoke their power to prescribe medications if they discussed medical marijuana with their patients. The Court’s decision means the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s unanimous ruling that such a regulatory penalty would violate the First Amendment rights of both doctors and patients stands. The federal government is barred from investigating doctors solely on the basis of making medical marijuana recommendations. >> Read More

October 10, 2003
Ten Technologies That Deserve to Die - Lie Detectors
By Bruce Sterling, (c) October 2003, MIT Technology Review
The CCLE's position with respect to brain fingerprinting devices, and other new fangled deception detection technology based on brain imagining, is that such technology is fine when used voluntarily. Law enforcement and other government agents, however, should be barred from forcibly extracting a person's innermost thoughts by compelling the person to be brain fingerprinted. When used by corporations the CCLE views it as distasteful and as disturbing as urine testing. >> Read what Bruce Sterling thinks

October 7, 2003
CCLE's Written Comments to the DEA
RE: Notice of Intent to Place 2C-T-7, BZP, and TFMPP into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. >> Read More

September 25,  2003
Ecstasy and Amphetamines - Global Survey 2003
United Nations Drug Report “Disappointing” Say Critics

Yesterday (September 23, 2003) the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime released its report
Ecstasy and Amphetamines - Global Survey 2003. The report estimates that worldwide 7.7 million people used the drug ecstasy from 2000-2001. According to Richard Glen Boire, legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, a US-based law and policy group focused on protecting of freedom of thought, the UN report is disappointing for its adoption of US government rhetoric. >> Read More

September 22, 2003
Salvia slips into our consciousness:
A legal hallucinogenic is now widely available, to mixed reactions

By Jennifer Moss (c) Vancouver Sun 2003
While Salvia divinorum remains legal in Canada, with increased availability comes increased use -- and controversy. Australia has banned the plant, and the U.S. may soon follow suit. According to lawyer Richard Glen Boire of the Centre for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, "there is a movement in the States to have Salvia divinorum banned, as part of the war on drugs." The CCLE Web site details the legal wrangles over salvia in the U.S. Bill HR5607 was introduced in Congress by California representative Joe Baca in 2002 in an attempt to make the substance illegal.  >> Read More

September 17, 2003
Leading Researchers Confront the Ethics of Cognitive Enhancement
Imagine taking a pill to make you smarter, or a drug that enhances your memory. Imagine mind-altering drugs imposed upon criminals, averting their tendencies to commit violence. Once a dream of science fiction, advances in neuroscience are now making it possible for cognitive enhancement to become as ordinary as a cup of coffee. But could enhancement drugs be dangerous? How might their use impact society? What are the ethical, moral and legal dilemmas surrounding the development and distribution of cognitive enhancing drugs? >> Read More

September 10, 2003
Results Retracted On Ecstasy Study
Scientists at Johns Hopkins University who last year published a frightening and controversial report suggesting that a single evening's use of the illicit drug ecstasy could cause permanent brain damage and Parkinson's disease are retracting their research in its entirety, saying the drug they used in their experiments was not ecstasy after all. >> Read More

September 5, 2003
10th Circuit:
Church likely to prevail in dispute over hallucinogenic tea

A New Mexico church was handed a small victory yesterday when a federal appeals court ruled its use of hallucinogenic tea was likely to be protected under religious-freedom laws. The 2-1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, upheld a preliminary injunction against the U.S. attorney general, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other government agencies that sought to prohibit the tea's use. >> Read More

September 2, 2003
Court Rules that Alaska Constitution Protects
Personal Possession of Marijuana in the Home
The Alaska Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the Alaska Constitution’s privacy guarantee protects an adult’s right to possess up to four ounces of marijuana in the home for personal use. The ruling overturns the conviction of David Noy, a North Pole medical marijuana patient, and resolves a legal conflict between a 1975 Supreme Court of Alaska decision and a voter initiative passed in 1990. >> Read More

August 26, 2003
The Brain's Buy Button
Article on

Neuroscientists say that by peering inside your head they can tell whether you identify more strongly with J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter, say, than with J.R.R. Tolkien's Frodo. A beverage company can choose one new juice or soda over another based on which flavor trips the brain's reward circuitry. It's conceivable that movies and TV programs will be vetted before their release by brain-imaging companies. A "fascinating" possibility, says William Raduchel, until recently the chief technology officer at AOL Time Warner, who explored using MRI technology for that purpose last fall. "It's a little like mind reading," says Henrik Walter, a neurologist and psychiatrist with the University Clinic of Ulm, Germany, where he conducts brain-imaging work for DaimlerChrysler. >> Read More

August 25, 2003
CCLE on Corante’s Brainwaves Column
Last week, and continuing through the end of this week (August 18-31), CCLE directors Wrye Sententia and Richard Glen Boire have been providing commentary to readers of the Brainwaves column on the Corante news service. >> Read More

August 19, 2003
Jnl. of Cognitive Liberties, Vol. 4, No. 2 Now Available
The latest issue of the Journal of Cognitive Liberties is now available in print. The current issue contains 117 pages of original articles on cognitive liberty by authors such as Richard Glen Boire, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, and Dr. Thomas Szasz. >> Read More

August 18, 2003
Debating the Future
Should we strive for radical life extension? Should we seek the benefits of nanotechnology despite the risks? Should we use cloning to reproduce? Should we genetically engineer a better human body or mind? Learn more about these issues in a debate between leading Canadian bioethicist Margaret Somerville and controversial US bioethicist James Hughes, moderated by journalist Tim Falconer. >> Read More

July 28, 2003
Neurofeedback to Enhance Musical Performance
Use of technologies like transcranial magnetic stimulation, or EEG neurofeedback techniques are shifting from therapeutic applications to those aimed at performance enhancement. The latest use of this technology allows users to see and alter their own brain waves by using a visual representation of their neural patterns. >> Read More

July 24, 2003
The Face of the Future: Technosapiens?
The CCLE's Wrye Sententia to speak on
"Steering Toward Human Flourishing"

The Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC) and the Council for Biotechnology Policy (CBP), will be holding a conference September 19-20 in Oakland, CA. Titled "The Face of the Future: Technosapiens?" the conference promises to be controversial.
>> Read More

July 17, 2003
US Seeking to Gag Doctors
Why the Government's Decision to Prosecute Doctors Who Inform Patients of Marijuana's Medical Benefits Is A Blatant First Amendment Violation. >> Read More

June 30, 2003
The Transcendent Dimensions of Liberty
Early Notes Concerning the Cognitive Liberty Implications of Supreme Court's Gay Rights Decision

Heralded as a landmark victory for gay rights, last week’s Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down Texas’ “Homosexual Conduct” law, which criminalized consensual sex between homosexual adults. The Supreme Court’s express recognition of a fundamental “liberty of the person in both its spatial and more transcendent dimensions,” that among other things protects consensual, private sexual conduct between adults, leaves room for a future recognition of cognitive liberty.  “At the heart of liberty,” wrote Justice Kennedy, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life." >> Read More

June 24, 2003
If Sanity Is Forced on a Defendant,
Who Is on Trial?
While the court's recent ruling In the case of Dr. Charles Sell settled some legal issues, it did little to resolve the larger philosophical questions in the case: how does one define free thought and individual identity in an age when technology has
provided the tools to radically alter them? What is the dividing line between the mind and body? What is the nature of personal autonomy? >> Read More

June 24, 2003
Savant for a Day
Applying magnetic fields to pinpointed areas of the brain, scientist Allan Snyder in Sydney, Australia enhances intelligence using brain technology. With transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), Snyder can reproduce genius-like talents of savants in "normal" laboratory subjects. Snyder says "You could call this a creativity-amplifying machine. It's a way of altering our states of mind without taking drugs like mescaline. You can make people see the raw data of the world as it is. As it is actually represented in the unconscious mind of all of us.'' >> Read more

June 16, 2003
Supreme Court Upholds Right to Refuse
Mind-Altering Drugs

CCLE Amicus Brief Argues Forced Medication Infringes Fundamental Liberty
On Monday, June 16 2003, The United States Supreme Court upheld the right to refuse unwanted psychotropic medication in its landmark decision in Sell v. United States, delivered earlier today. Ruling in favor of a St. Louis dentist who resisted government attempts to force medicate him with antipsychotic drugs, the Court held that while involuntary medication solely for trial competence purposes may be appropriate in some instances, those instances would likely be “rare.”  >> Read More

June 9, 2003
Ethics and mapping the brain
By Lou Marano, June 3, 2003 © Washington Times
WASHINGTON, June 3 (UPI) -- Emerging technologies that map the brain, reveal "guilty knowledge," and expose patterns associated with disfavored behavior raise thorny questions of law and ethics.
Three University of Pennsylvania professors grapple with these questions in a lucid article that appears in the June issue of the IEEE Spectrum, a monthly journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. "Bioethics and the Brain," although written for specialists, is refreshingly free of the jargon and bad writing that mars so many academic publications. >> Read More

June 6, 2003
Man hailed by some as genius
cannot be forcibly drugged for mental illness

OTTAWA (CP) - A physics savant who says he'd rather stay locked up than be drugged for mental illness cannot be forcibly medicated, says Canada's highest court. >> Read More

May 22, 2003
House Votes To Bar Schools
from Forcing Kids to Take Psychotropic Meds

On Wednesday (May 21, 2003) the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Child Medication Safety Act (HR 1170), which would prohibit schools receiving federal education money from coercing children into taking drugs like Ritalin as a precondition to attending class. >> Read More

May 13, 2003
Coming soon? "Active Skin" Drug Monitoring
Ian Pearson, futurologist for BTexact, says that recent developments in polymer displays and electronics mean that within 7 years it may be possible to put electronics onto and into our skin. "Active skin technology could be used by the medical profession to monitor our blood chemistry 24/7 and enable hospitals to check up on patients via computers or mobiles. These computers could also remotely control drug dispensers. It might even be possible to print special membranes with pores that can be electronically opened and closed and thereby dispense accurate dosages." >> Read More

May 8, 2003
Tripping De-Light Fantastic
Are psychedelic drugs good for you?

A year ago, hoping to dispel the postpartum gloom that had gripped me after I finished writing a book, I hiked into a forest near my home and pitched a tent under some pine trees. I spent that day and evening listening to the forest, scribbling in my journal, and thinking—all while under the influence of a psychedelic drug. The next morning I returned to my wife and children feeling better than I had in months. What I did that day should not be illegal. Adults seeking solace or insight ought to be allowed to consume psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline. U.S. laws now classify them as Schedule 1 drugs, banned for all purposes because of their health risks. But recent studies have shown that psychedelics—which more than 20 million Americans have ingested—can be harmless and even beneficial when taken under appropriate circumstances. >> Read More

May 5, 2003
Some fear loss of privacy as science pries into brain
Using magnetic resonance imaging machines that detect the ebb and flow of brain activity, researchers have become so good at peering into the workings of the human mind that their work is raising a new and deeply personal ethical concern: brain privacy. >> Read More

May 1 2003
Court: Shaman Must Give Up Ayahuasca Use and Complete 150 Days Community Service
An Ecuadorean shaman who brewed a potion that killed an elderly native woman on Manitoulin Island [Canada] has received a one-year conditional sentence and must give up ayahuasca use while in Canada. >> Read More

25 April 2003

Court: No Peyote For 4-Year-Old
(AP) --
A family court judge ruled Tuesday that a 4-year-old boy cannot take peyote at American Indian spiritual ceremonies. In his decision, Judge Graydon W. Dimkoff wrote that "peyote is dangerous, and in general should be avoided." He went on to state, however, that the boy could ingest peyote when he is fully aware of the implications, is physically and emotionally ready, and has the permission of both parents. >> Read More

23 April 2003
CCLE Mental Diversity Scholarships Awarded
Mind States IV Conference
The CCLE is pleased to announce that four individuals have been awarded CCLE Mental Diversity Scholarships to attend the Mind States IV Conference in May 2003. >> Read More

10 April 2003
Journal of Cognitive Liberties
Volume 4, No. 1 (2003) Now Available

The newest issue of the CCLE's Journal of Cognitive Liberties is now available. The JCL has been newly redesigned, combining insightful content with a chic, minimalist aesthetic. >> Read More

9 April 2003
Pot Debate Enters New Dimension
A California think tank is giving "New York State of Mind" a whole new meaning. >> Read More

4 April 2003
FDA Cracks Down On “Street Drug Alternatives”
Cognitive Liberty Group calls it
a "Chilling Extension of the War on Drugs”
Washington -- The Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to eight companies that sell herbal products, threatening to seize the products because the companies are marketing them as legal alternatives to illegal street drugs. >> Read More

2 April 2003
Court Says Mom's Use
of Marijuana Not Reason to Remove Kids

Smoking marijuana daily does not make a woman an unfit parent and her four children should not have been removed by a county agency, an Ohio appeals court has ruled. >> Read More

31 March 2003
Judge Fired For Recusing Himself on Drug Cases
A Chandler [Arizona] attorney was kicked off the bench Thursday an hour into his first shift as a judge after he announced in writing that he would disqualify himself from all drug cases because drug laws conflict with his libertarian principles. >> Read More

29 March 2003
Mystic Herb Catches Fire
A hallucinogenic herb traditionally used by Mexico's Mazatec Indians is being touted as a legal alternative to marijuana on numerous Web sites, attracting attention from teenagers seeking a psychedelic experience and parents concerned about their children's well-being. ... Fear that the government will move to control the substance angers advocacy groups, who view it as another area where the government's war on drugs encroaches on an individual's freedom, says Richard Glen Boire, co-director and legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, a civil-liberties think tank in Davis, Calif. >> Read More

24 March 2003
Artificial Synapses Under Development
Scientists at Stanford University in California told a biophysics conference in Texas earlier in March that they have created four "artificial synapses" on a silicon chip one centimeter square. >> Read More

19 March 200
Thai Death Squads Target Drug Users
On February 1, Thailand's Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra significantly upped the stakes in the war on drug users, resolving to make Thailand "drug free" within three months. >> Read More

12 March 2003
Chippocampus?: The New Artificial Hippocampus
US scientists say a silicon chip could be used to replace the hippocampus, where the storage of memories is coordinated. They are due to start testing the device on rats brains shortly. If that goes well, the Californian researchers will test the artificial hippocampus in live rats within six months and then monkeys trained to carry out memory tasks before progressing to human trials once the chip has been proved to be safe. >> Read More

11 March 2003
Librarians Try to Alter Patriot Act
Along with the usual reminders to hold the noise down and pay overdue fines, library patrons in Santa Cruz are seeing a new type of sign these days: a warning that records of the books they borrow may wind up in the hands of federal agents. >> Read More

3 March 2003
Justices Examine the Intersection of Freedom of Thought With New Mind-Altering Drugs
Washington, DC—Today’s Supreme Court oral argument saw government lawyers clashing with lawyers for Dr. Charles Thomas Sell. Backed by a number of civil liberties organizations, Dr. Sell’s lawyers told the Court that their client’s right to bodily and mental integrity was guaranteed under the First, Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the Constitution. >> Read More

25 February 2003
U.S. Supreme Court Set to Hear Oral Argument
in Forced Drugging Case on Monday

On Monday March 3rd, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the groundbreaking case of Dr. Charles Sell, a St. Louis dentist ordered to submit to involuntary medication with anti-psychotic drugs (Sell v. United States, No. 02-5664). Charged with Medicaid fraud in 1997, Sell was found incompetent to stand trial due to mental illness.  Since that time, he has been fighting the federal government’s efforts to forcibly inject him with drugs they claim will render him competent to stand trial. >> Read More

24 February 2003
This is Not a Pipe
Justice Department Goes After "Paraphernalia" Vendors

In the latest expansion on the "War on Drugs," Attorney General John Ashcroft reported today that the Department of Justice has launched two new major anti-drug operations aimed at targeting companies that sell items that drug users might use to ingest their unapproved drugs. At a press conference held earlier today, Ashcroft proudly announced that "Operation Head Hunter" and "Operation Pipe Dreams," have already resulted in the arrest of 55 people. >> Read More 

11 February 2003
Drugs Can Kill You
Eighth Circuit rules that death row inmate can be force-drugged in order to make him mentally fit for execution.  >> Read More

10 February 2003
CCLE Announces Mental Diversity Scholarship Fund
Win a Ticket, plus $300 Travel/Lodging To Attend Mind States IV
The CCLE’s Mental Diversity Scholarship Fund is intended to make it possible for worthy individuals with a unique perspective to attend cost-prohibitive conferences, seminars, and other events that raise cognitive liberty issues. We are presently offering 4 scholarship awards to attend Mind States IV in Berkeley, CA. >> Read More

7 February 2003
CCLE Files Freedom of Information Request
We're seeking any information that the DEA has collected with respect to Salvia divinorum or its active principle.  >> Read More

3 February 2003
Los Angeles Event: Thursday Feb. 6
The Learning Party presents:

Cognitive Liberty: Can You Change Your Own Mind?

a dialogue with Wrye Sententia of the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics

Profound advances in cognitive technologies & neurochemistry are further changing our ability to manipulate the brain. In the next few decades we will see even more intricate breakthroughs in neurotechnologies & neurochemistry. How will society respond to new options, new possibilities for treating or manipulating the mind? What sorts of freedom to benefit from these advances will we have, what sorts of limitations should/will there be? >> Read More

January 29, 2003
DEA Moves to Schedule Two More "Hallucinogens"
Yesterday the Drug Enforcement Administration moved to place
two more "hallucinogens" into Schedule I of the federal Controlled
Substances Act. The two substances are
(AMT) and 5-methoxy-N,N-diisopropyltryptamine (5-MeO-DIPT). >> Read More

January 20, 2003 Salim Muwakkil, (c) Chicago Tribune
A New Opposition Front in the Drug War:
Criminalizing peaceful people who use psychoactive drugs to deepen their spiritual life is criminal itself, some groups are arguing.
A new front has opened in opposition to the war on drugs--a religious front. Several newly formed groups are contesting our prohibitionist, anti-drug strategies because they restrict religious freedom and "cognitive liberty." >> Read More

January 13, 2003
The Battle For Your Brain:

Science Is Developing Ways To Boost Intelligence, Expand Memory, And More. But Will You Be Allowed To Change Your Own Mind?

"WE'RE ON THE Verge Of profound changes in our ability to manipulate the brain" says Paul Root Wolpe a bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania. He isn't kidding. The dawning age of neuroscience promises not just new treatments for Alzheimer's and other brain diseases but enhancements to improve memory, boost intellectual acumen, and fine-tune our emotional responses. >> Read More

January 3, 2003
First Local Restrictions
on the Sale of Salvia Divinorum Proposed

Authorities in St. Peters, Missouri, are urging city officials to pass an ordinance outlawing the sale of Salvia divinorum to anyone under the age of 18. >> Read More