Hallucinogenic Plant Joins List Of Banned Substances In Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) -- A law taking effect in Illinois on New Year's Day makes possession or sale of a plant called Salvia divinorum (Sal-VEE'-ah DI'-veh-nor-uhm) a felony.

The plant can cause hallucinations within seconds after it's smoked, licked or chewed. Violators will face legal consequences as harsh as those for heroin or LSD.

Some retailers say the change in the law has caused a spike in sales of the herb.

Sebastian Pogorzelski, co-owner of The Highway, a Chicago tobacco store, says shoppers are stocking up because of the impending ban.

State Representative Dennis Reboletti, a Republican from Elmhurst, says the new law was needed because federal drug laws don't address the substance.