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Bill would ban jimson weed

Sen. Dan Clemens attempts to ban use of jimson weed after incident in his district.

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March 11, 2008

After two high school boys in Seymour, Mo., gave a 15-year-old girl jimson weed to get her high, the girl was found nude and watching television in a stranger’s house.

The event led Sen. Dan Clemens, R-Marshfield, to sponsor a bill that would make the possession of a natural substance called jimson weed illegal.

According to the bill, the law would make it unlawful for a person to possess, distribute deliver, manufacture, produce or cultivate jimson weed.

Gus Wagner, Clemens’s chief of staff, said Clemens felt the need to try to pass this bill after the incident happened in part of Clemens’s district.

Wagner said the high results when people eat the seeds of the plant.

Wagner said the majority of the people who use jimson weed to get high are young teenagers.

MU psychological science professor Dennis Miller said jimson weed is a type of anticholinergic.

Anticholinergics have been used for centuries in traditional and nontraditional medicines and have treated ailments such as asthma, upset stomach, diarrhea and high blood pressure.

Miller said anticholinergics can produce undesired side effects.

With drugs like LSD, mushrooms and mescaline, users experience vision impairment and many tell of seeing a white light, Miller said. With anticholinergics, he said, users experience “true hallucinations” at a high concentration.

“It’s like you’re awake but experiencing a crazy dream,” he said.

Jimson weed, Miller said, is not the preferred drug of choice for a psychedelic experience because of its potentially harmful side effects.

He said the other psychedelic drugs mentioned are preferred by users to jimson weed because they don’t have to go through the anticholinergic effects, he said.

These effects include dry mouth, blurred vision, terrible constipation and an increase in body temperature, Miller said.

He said people who take anticholinergics feel “terrible” when they are using them.

“There are some considerations about how safe anticholinergics are to use,” Miller said.

If someone were to take enough anticholinergics, Miller said, they could end up poisoned and need medical attention. Miller said a person could even end up in a coma.

Miller said he has heard of farm animals, such as cows, becoming poisoned after consuming jimson weed that had been mixed in with their feed.

He said the animals required medical attention and suffered from effects similar to those experienced by humans who have taken too many anticholinergics.

This is not the first time there has been a bill to make jimson weed illegal.

There was a bill similar to this one in 2007, but did not make it through Missouri General Assembly.

The bill was heard in the Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural Resources Committee Feb. 19, and if passed, would become effective Aug. 28.

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