Dried poison ivy. Still hazardous?

So our Jeep keeps getting rifled. We don’t keep anything valuable in it so the loss isn’t significant but it IS annoying. Someone goes in there in the night and opens the glove box and floor box looking for valuables. And they don’t appear to be able to learn that there’s never anything there.

So last week we put mousetraps in both boxes. We’ll see how that plays out.

Lady Chance noticed we have some poison ivy growing in the back. Then she had the fiendish idea of shredding and drying some and putting it in the glove box in a baggie.

You must admit, she can be diabolical.

But we need to know if dried poison ivy maintains its ability to cause itching and such. Does anyone know?

Don’t do this. If someone mistakenly believed this was marijuana and smoked it, they can develop blisters in the bronchial tubes of the lungs which is very dangereous or even fatal. You could be liable for damages.

To answer your question, yes. Dried poison ivy and posion oak can still cause allergic reactions. I know from personal experience. In fact, I had mild spot of poison oak rash just three weeks ago from a long-dead vine.

However, to echo the earlier poster, don’t do it. I’ve never heard of anyone dying from it, but I have seen some violent allergic reactions. Violent enough to warrent a trip to the hospital.

The oil that causes the poison ivy reaction is very persistent, as other posters have pointed out. All of my composting references advise against adding any part of the poison ivy plant to compost heaps because the oil may not necessarily be broken down in the normal course of composting. So even when everything else has turned to dirt, the oil can still cause itching.

Just a suggestion: have you thought about getting a car alarm?

Sounds fair :wink:

But really how do you expect to pull this off without infecting yourself?

How about a wireless webcam, most can work in low light conditions

Yes, dried poison ivy does contain enough oil to cause problems for people, sometimes years after it’s died. However, it’s also surprisingly easy to get afflicted cutting it up yourself, unless you are extremely careful.

I’ve read of people burning old weeds/yard waste in an outdoor fire with old, dead poison ivy on it having to be hospitalized, or worse. Reputedly, a co-worker’s husband died from this, although I could not confirm it (and didn’t care to either).

Then of course there’s always the risk of you leaving the baggie in the glove box, being pulled over for a routine stop and being searched, and then going to jail while the cops try to test your “pot”. I sincerely doubt it would be possible for you to be “liable for damages”, but then you shouldn’t even bother to read legal advice on the SDMB unless there are some hard cites accompanying it.

I couldn’t agree more.

*“The law has always placed a higher value upon human safety than upon mere rights of property” *

I’m aware of that case - setting burglar traps and their legality is a question that’s been asked before. But overall, there’s not much correlation between setting a spring gun designed to kill someone and making a bag of fake pot that could potentially cause someone injury if they were allergic enough to die from it while using it. He doesn’t know that anyone is going to steal it, smoke it, and then have a reaction that causes severe death or injury.

As a thought experiment - what if the op smeared peanut butter all over the inside of his glove box to discourage someone from sticking their fingers in, and the thief has a peanut allergy and dies - is he liable now? He knows that there’s a chance someone might be, but doesn’t know for certain.

All that having been said, I’m willing to bet that you’re correct, and that I am not, in my initial comment of doubting he would be liable for damages. I think it’s really not very certain, and my point still stands that he ought not to go off what people say on here for legal matters like this without hard information. Your info is a good first step for analyzing this, but it doesn’t really encompass the whole situation.

Really? Then why does the OP marvel at the plan as “diabolical”? Clearly, there was intent to injure whomever has been pilfering the vehicle, either by handling or smoking the contents of the baggy. It’s a man trap.

Yes, you’re 100% correct in the context of this thread and the OP, now that they’ve tipped their hand by asking. But assuming that he hadn’t told anyone that was his intent, he just did it. I’m thinking about it from a general, practical sense. I mean, think about it from the standpoint of the prosecutor.

  • Person is in hospital.
  • Doctors believe that person has massive systemic reaction to poison ivy oil.
  • Person in hospital says they think it might be some pot they smoked.
  • Pot is tested (more likely only if the police are involved, such as if it’s a fatality) and determined to be poison ivy.
  • Police ask where person got pot - he now has to admit that he got it breaking and entering someone’s vehicle.
  • Police then approach vehicle owner, who says he has no idea why some druggie says he got bad weed from his vehicle, as he doesn’t smoke and will take a drug test to prove it, and wonders what the police are doing about the drug-using guy who broke into his vehicle so many times and confessed to it.

Now, you see why I think that practically speaking it’s not likely? I guess we can throw all sorts of other strawmen into the mix and come up with cases where it’s more possible, but if he hadn’t tipped his hand, would the chain of events have played out like that?

I suppose, however, if he died from it AND there were witnesses as to the source of the bad pot, then it could be more likely to stick. But these thought experiments don’t change the basic facts - you’re correct about setting traps specifically meant to kill, but I still believe that the practicalities of this situation really muddle things. And that’s why I mean that this is not something where the OP should take legal advice either way on here. That includes from me as well, you know.

Since we are admittedly in a grey area, wouldn’t the prudent person err on the side of caution? I don’t see it so much as legal advice, as simply a word to the wise.

I agree with you. I actually do agree with what you said originally as well. My cautionary note about legal cites was not directed at you or your post, and given that I made a pronouncement myself as to things being “not likely” without taking sufficient time to clarify exactly what I meant, it was likely unwise of me as well to even say anything on that.

Yes. See Post #18.

Urushiol, the noxious chemical in poison ivy, poison-oak, and sumac, can stick around for a year or more. Getting a rash just from other object that have been in contact with urushiol is not uncommon, either. Here is some good information.


I got rather educated about urushiol after some poison-oak contact last month. I ended up taking two days off of work when the rash got to the point of alarming and distressing (at which point I had to go to the doc for steroids). That was more than a month ago and I still have dark blotches where the rash was on my leg. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

You also run the risk that if the person survives and doesn’t report where he got the “pot,” he’ll come back and do much worse than rifle through your car.

I forgot to add earlier: the dermatitis from urushiol exposure can take a while to show up (mine took about 10 days, a little longer than the normal window). So aside from the other myriad reasons not to do this, the delayed reaction makes it not a very good deterrent.

I’m with Ferret Herder - even the mousetraps could lead to your car (or home) being vandalized. Criminals can be vicious and stupid.