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Miley Cyrus Bong Video Sparks New Debate About Salvia Drug

Interest in the hallucinogenic drug salvia exploded this weekend when a video of teen pop sensation Miley Cyrus using salvia hit the Internet Friday.

Salvia divinorum is a member of the sage family and users smoke it like a cigarette, chew it, or smoke it in a pipe or bong. It’s legal for adults in the state of California, where Cyrus was videoed inhaling it through a bong. The video comes from TMZ.com.

Sales of the substance have tripled since the video went public, according to Fox News. Now there’s new talk about banning salvia, which is already illegal in 15 states including Georgia.

Georgia law O.C.G.A. ß 16-13-72 reflects ambivalence about the drug. The law enacted in July prohibits the possession, planting, cultivating, growing or harvesting of salvia, but it’s still legal to plant salvia for “aesthetic, landscaping or decorative purposes.”

"I think it's a dangerous drug, no doubt about it…[but] we don't want grandma to have to tear it out of her front yard," Rep. John Lunsford, the lawmaker behind making salvia illegal in Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Thousands of YouTube clips show teens using the drug, which produces an intense high that causes illusions, uncontrollable laughter and slurred speech among other things. The effects last 5 – 15 minutes and do not significantly increase heart rate or blood pressure, according to a Johns Hopkins study, which is why some feel the drug is relatively harmless.

This is a cautionary tale for teens that record video of themselves. According to TMZ.com, a friend recorded Cyrus while celebrating her 18th birthday. The video was stolen or copied, leaving Cyrus stuck with some explaining to do.

Cop punches teen jaywalker

Across the nation people are talking about this video of a police officer punching a teenage girl in the face during an altercation in Seattle.

What lead to this moment, captured by a witness with a cell phone, may well be a case study in police reaction and teenage judgment.  It started when Officer Ian Walsh spotted four girls jaywalking.  He asked them to step over to his patrol car.  According to police officials, the girls were “verbally antagonistic. “

The officer was alone on the street.  One of the teens allegedly touched his arm.  Pushing and shoving escalated into a struggle, and things quickly got out of hand.

The police department at first defended the officer and blamed the girls for resisting arrest. But now the police chief is reviewing procedures and conducting an internal investigation.   The police union says the officer was justified and followed his training.

The NAACP and the Urban League are critical of the teens, but condemning the officer’s violent reaction.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in comments below.

Click on the following sources for analysis:

KOMO TV

The Seattle Times

Fox News

USA Today

KIRO TV