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By Andrew Tellijohn, State Capitol Bureau, Published May 14 2010

Minn. House votes to ban hallucinogenic drug

ST. PAUL – Lawmakers took another step Thursday toward banning salvia divinorum, a hallucinogenic drug growing in popularity around Minnesota.

The House voted 116-15 Thursday to join 20 other states that have banned the drug, which produces short, intense highs when chewed or smoked.

“The states around us have made it illegal,” said Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead. “In Minnesota, it’s legal. In fact, it’s available to children.”

The bill makes selling salvia a gross misdemeanor and possession a misdemeanor.

The Senate had already passed its version of the bill.

Enhanced license

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a bill allowing Minnesotans to substitute an enhanced driver’s license for a passport when crossing the Canadian border.

The bill is important to Minnesota residents traveling to Canada for work and for Canadians traveling south to vacation in places like Duluth, said Rep. Roger Reinert, DFL-Duluth, who had authored the bill in the House.

The new driver’s license will cost $15 and will be available at Department of Motor Vehicle locations across Minnesota starting June 1, 2012.

“Right now to cross the border, Minnesotans have to pay $100 for a passport or $45 for a passport card just to cross the border,” Reinert said. “That’s choking off economic activity and travel vital to northland communities and businesses.”

Phone requirements

The governor signed a bill requiring mobile telephone companies to give law enforcement officials information to locate a telephone of a missing person who may be in danger.

The bill is named after Kelsey Smith of Kansas, who was 18 years old when she was killed in 2007. Telephone company officials refused to tell police where her phone was.

Don Davis of the State Capitol Bureau contributed to this report.

Davis and Tellijohn report for Forum Communications Co.