Legal Substances Can Still Mean DUI
By: Chris Kramer
The cloak of mystery surrounding absinthe, the "green fairy," is being removed. The liquor, thought to be the substance that caused Vincent Van Gogh to cut off his own ear, has been banned for decades but has finally become legal in the United States.
The fact that absinthe was banned has only added to the desire of some to try it, if only to see if the rumors about it are true. After becoming very popular in the 19th century, it was been banned in many countries. Some people said that it causes hallucinations, hence the nickname "green fairy." It was also said to induce seizures and madness.
Others say it was banned because of the toxins it contains. Chemists say that it was most likely banned because it became more popular than wine, and was therefore villanized by winemakers, because it does not contain enough of the wormwood toxins to harm drinkers.
Using the scientific data that chemists collected about absinthe, a team of lawyers worked for four years to bring the drink back to the United States. They were finally successful last year in having the ban on absinthe lifted.
The Washington Post reports that Kubler, the Swiss distiller that manufactures absinthe, recently held a private tasting party in Baltimore. The company hopes that their product will gain popularity and become a large part of the American drinking culture.
Drinkers looking for the interesting side effect of hallucinations may not find it in absinthe though. Some people who have tried the drink have been disappointed that the liquor did not live up to its potent image. While those people seeking a "trip" through the now legal absinthe may be disappointed, they may keep looking for a substance to deliver the desired effects.
Salvia Divinorum is an herb that has been legal in most of the United States until recently, and has drawn a following of people wishing to experiment with altering yet legal substances.
Five states have already outlawed Salvia Divinorum, much to the dismay of people who have enjoyed smoking the herb. Those people who are against the Salvia Divinorum bans say that the herb does not cause hallucinations, and only opens a doorway to higher spiritual learning and enlightenment.
The problem with both absinthe and Salvia Divinorum is the fact that people who drink and smoke them have the potential to drive afterwards. Since absinthe is liquor and can be detected in a breath test, users certainly should not drink and drive. Consumption of absinthe before driving could absolutely result in a DUI arrest.
While under the influence of only Salvia Divinorum, a person could pass a breath test, and that may give some false sense of security that it is okay to drive. The fact is that DUI stands for driving under the influence, and "under the influence" could cover many substances, both legal and illegal.
Salvia Divinorum is still legal in many places; however, that does not mean that it is legal to drive under the influence. The same is true with many prescription drugs. Legal to possess and use does not mean immunity from DUI if a person chooses to drive under the influence of any intoxicating substance.