Drugs often refer to illegal street or recreational drugs. There are also legal drugs, however, which are available over-the-counter (OTC) or from a pharmacy with a doctor's prescription.
The most popular (recreational) drug in Davis is Alcohol. Marijuana is also pretty popular, and we've got our share of potheads. Hard drugs such as cocaine (we call thems folks coke heads) and Methamphetamine (consumed by Tweakers) are less popular but also used by locals and students. It should be mentioned that LSD and Psilocybin Mushrooms are also an integral (though less profound, extensive) part of the Davis drug community.
Under California law, marijuana can be grown or purchased legally for medicinal use with a doctor's recommendation. A Davis law prohibits dispensaries within city limits, but the Sacramento area has been home to quite a few. State authorities have started to crack down on some dispensaries that aren't following state laws very closely. Meanwhile, pot remains illegal for all purposes under federal law. It's classified as a Schedule I controlled substance and growing or possessing it in sufficiently large quantities can lead to federal mandatory minimum prison sentences of 5, 10, or more years. For a while, federal authorities largely ignored marijuana production and use that complied with state medical marijuana laws. Recently, however, they've begun to crack down, including in the Sacramento region. A number of growers and dispensers have been subject to forfeiture proceedings, whereby the government seizes any or all property and money associated with the marijuana. Individuals with a valid California recommendation who are only growing or purchasing from a proper cooperative dispenser are probably OK, since the federal crackdown so far is focusing mostly on businesses that seem to be turning a large profit. There are no guarantees, though, so grow, purchase, and use at your own risk.
Public opinion and laws change. In October 2011 Gallup measured that the percentage of Americans favoring legalization of marijuana rose to 50%, up 4% in a year.
Marijuana is generally considered to be kosher.
Salvia_divinorum is a hallucinogenic drug that is currently legal in Davis and available for purchase at Illusions. Depending on the potency, it can be a very powerful drug, but the effects generally wear off after a few minutes.
Absinthe is an alcoholic drink which is traditionally enhanced with wormwood. It has been sort of legal in the US since 2007, but US regulations strictly limit the thujone (a chemical found in wormwood) content to a maximum of 10 parts per million.1 This irrational rule exists despite modern research showing that wormwood was not, as was once believed, deleterious to mental health. Much like poinsettias, it was incorrectly believed to be poison, and again like poinsettias, legend still holds that it is either poison or causes some kind of high. It is, in fact simply bitter, with no mental effects whatsoever — it has been used in other foodstuffs around the world, including during the ban on absinthe. The high percentage of alcohol in absinthe (necessary to keep the herbal essences in solution) makes it continue to be illegal in many states and large cities, much like other high percentage liquors such as Everclear. As a result of the smaller market, and due to the fact that Europe only recently made it legal again, only a few foreign importers have obtained import licenses. It is, however, available for sale at the Quick Shop Market, Aggie Liquor, and Little Prague, but this so-called absinthe called Absente contains only a trace amount of wormwood (although to be fair, the maximum set under US nanny regulations). Aggie Liquor also sells an absinthe called Lucid. Many original absinthe makers changed their formula when it became illegal, one of the most successful surviving the ban being Pernod: both Pernod Anise and Ricard Pastis.
To cut down on Alcohol consumption at UC Davis, the University started the 0 - 3 at UCD campaign, which is arguably the most visible anti-drug effort on Campus. The school's strongest pro-drug effort to date has been the introduction of Aggie Lager.