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Toad Away: New Highs in the War on Drugs

By       Message James W. Harris     Permalink
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Just mark it down as yet another glorious victory in the War on Drugs.


A Kansas City, Missouri man has been arrested and charged with... possessing a toad. More specifically, possession with the intent to get high from the toad's venom.


When police raided a Kansas City-area home in November on suspicions that drugs were being manufactured there, they arrested David S. Theiss -- and his toad. To be precise, his Sonoran Desert toad.


When this breed of toad gets angry or scared, it secrets a venom containing

bufotenin. Bufotenin, when ingested, is a hallucinogen. Thus the federal government, ever vigilant of what we do with our bodies and minds, has outlawed it.


County prosecutor Daniel White was careful to point out that mere possession of a toad -- even a Sonoran Desert toad -- is not, per se, illegal. (After all, this IS a free country!)


But possession with the intent to use its venom to get high *is* illegal. And, since Theiss was charged with several drug offenses -- among them possessing mescaline, a controlled substance extracted from a cactus -- he surely must have owned the toad for sinister reasons.

In such cases, prosecutor White says, the toad is considered "drug paraphernalia" and owners must face the consequences.


Naturally, the Internet is part of the menace. Prosecutor White warns that some Web sites feature instructional videos on how to extract the venom and smoke it.


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JAMES W. HARRIS has published hundreds of articles in publications including THE NATION, REASON, THE FREEMAN and many more. He is editor of THE LIBERATOR ONLINE, the email newsletter of the Advocates for Self-Government, with over 70,000 (more...)

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