A brave man stood up for his right to own and sell Salvia recently, in a test case in Kansas, Missouri courts. The man – Hassan R. Ullah, 30 – pleaded guilty to selling Salvia from his shop in the city.

The odd thing about this case – well, one of the odd things – is that Ullah displayed the Salvia in clearly labelled bags in his shop. He paid sales tax on the packages that he saw. When a uniformed drugs officer asked Ullah if he sold Salvia, the shop keeper replied in the affirmative and handed the officer a bag. Ullah then went on to plead guilty in front of a judge; he faces up to 15 years in prison for the ‘offence’, and the court will decide his fate on February 25, 2009.

The charge againstUllah is one of delivery of a controlled substance.

In yet another interesting twist in this case, a Buchanan County Judge Weldon Judah actually refused to accept the guilty plea because, he reasoned, Ullah did not know that the drug was illegal when he handed it to the strike force officer and he didn’t knowingly sell it. This didn’t wash and the prosecution pushed for the guilty plea to be accepted. Eventually it was.

Salvia is legal across most of the US but it is illegal in Kansas and Missouri (the laws passing in 2008 and 2005 respectively). While there was no attempt to make the change in the law a ‘stealth’ one, it is not widely known. Many people don’t understand Salvia and even more people do not understand the consequences of possessing and supplying the naturally occuring drug. There is some confusion about what it is and why it is banned even for those who passed the laws. Expecting occasional shopkeepers like Ullah to know is a little optimistic, to say the least.