Update June 24, 2003. The RAVE Act passed earlier this year when it was attached to the AMBER alert bill. Here's an explanation about how the bill passed and what's taken place as a result since then from the Drug Policy Alliance.
Here's a summary
and further analysis of the RAVE Bill by the Drug Policy Alliance.
Yikes! It's even worse than I thought!
The language of this RAVE Bill would make any citizen throwing a party liable for any drug use an ambiguously-defined general vacinity. We're talking jail time here for someone else's illegal activity that you had no knowledge of whatsoever.
It basically puts RAVEs under the juristiction of crack houses. As if, by definition, they were places used for the sale and manufacture of drugs.
Just the fact that "chill rooms" are cause for suspicion at a dancing venue is quite disturbing. What's suspicious about getting hot and wanting to sit down and "chill" for a while after dancing to some great music. Dancing is a healthy activity that should be encouraged, not persecuted.
Here's the full text:
Proposed Law Could Subject You to 20 Years in Prison
The Senate is poised to pass legislation that would give federal prosecutors new powers to shut down RAVEs, hemp festivals, marijuana rallies and other events and punish business owners and activists for hosting or promoting them. Because of its broad language, the proposed law would also potentially subject people to enormous federal sentences if some of their guests smoked marijuana at their party or barbecue. It would also effectively make it a federal crime to rent property to medical marijuana patients and their caregivers.
Stop the Senate From Banning Marijuana Rallies and Other Events: Take Action Now!
The bill, known as the Reducing American's Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act (RAVE Act), was just introduced in the Senate on June 18th and has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. It is moving VERY rapidly and could be passed by the Senate as early as this week. While it purports to be aimed at ecstasy and other club drugs, it gives the federal government enormous power to fine and imprison supporters of marijuana legalization, even if they've never smoked marijuana.
Health advocates worry that the bill will endanger our nation's youth. If enacted, licensed and law-abiding business owners may stop hosting raves or other events that federal authorities don't like, out of fear of massive fines and prison sentences. Thus, the law would drive raves and other musical events further underground and away from public health and safety regulations. It would also discourage business owners from enacting smart harm-reduction measures to protect their customers. By insinuating that selling bottled water and offering "cool off" rooms is proof that owners and promoters know drug use is occurring at their events, this bill may make business owners too afraid to implement such harm-reduction measures, and the safety of our kids will suffer.
Read more about this bill, with an analysis by the Alliance.
full text of:
RAVE Act Analysis
The Reducing Americans Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act of 2002 (The RAVE Act)
S. 2633 (the RAVE Act) broadly expands Section 416(a) of the Controlled Substance Act (21 U.S.S. 856(a)), also known as the "crack house statute", to allow the federal government to fine or imprison businessmen and women if customers or tenants sell, use, or manufacture drugs on their premises or at their events. Just introduced in the Senate on June 18th, the RAVE Act has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and could be voted on under unanimous consent rules very soon.
Essentially the bill modifies two sections of the "crack house statute" to make it applicable to those who (1) knowingly open, lease, rent, use, any place either permanently or temporarily for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance, or (2) manage or control any place [building, room, or enclosure], whether permanently or temporarily, either as owner, lessee, agent, employee, occupant, or mortgagee, and knowingly and intentionally rent, lease, profit from, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the place [building, room, or enclosure] for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance. (Bold words are additions to statute, brackets are subtractions.)
The bill also gives federal prosecutors greater power to charge people civilly, rather than criminally, and provides for declaratory or injunctive relief.
What is Wrong with the RAVE Act?
Brief: The RAVE Act unfairly punishes businessmen and women for the crimes of their customers and is unprecedented in U.S. history. The federal government can't even keep drugs out of prisons, yet it seeks to punish business owners for failing to keep people from carrying drugs onto their premises. It is a danger to innocent businessmen and women, especially restaurant and nightclub owners, concert promoters, landlords, and real estate managers. Section 4 of the bill goes so far as to allow the federal government to charge property owners civilly, thus allowing prosecutors to fine property owners $250,000 (and put them out of business) without having to meet the higher standard of proof in criminal cases that is needed to protect innocent people.
* The RAVE Act is too broadly written and could subject innocent business owners to enormous fines or prison sentences. While supporters of the bill claim that innocent business owners don't need to worry because it only applies to people that knowingly open, lease, rent, use or maintain a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using a controlled substance, "knowingly" and "for the purpose of" are too undefined to provide adequate protection to innocent businessmen and women. A nightclub owner that decides to play music at his club knows that certain young people will probably use drugs while they dance to the music. Despite good security, the owner could potentially be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and forced into bankruptcy. Because prosecutors could charge owners civilly under this law, the standard of proof is too low to adequately protect innocent property owners. The bill's addition of the word "temporarily" undermines the very purpose of the "crack house statute" which was targeting property that was being used primarily for drug offenses, not making property owners liable for isolated actions that occur on their property, whether they are there or not.
* The bill is so broadly written that individuals could potentially face 20-year sentences for using drugs at home. As currently written, the proposed law would make it a federal crime to temporarily use a place for the purpose of using any illegal drug. Thus, anyone who used drugs in their own home or threw an event (such as a party or barbecue) in which one or more of their guests used drugs could potentially face a $500,000 fine and up to twenty years in federal prison. If the offense occurred at a hotel room or on a cruise ship, the owner of the property could also be potentially liable.
* The bill could endanger our nation's youth. If enacted, licensed and law-abiding business owners may stop hosting raves and other musical events, out of fear of massive fines and prison sentences. Thus, the RAVE Act will drive raves and other musical events further underground and away from public health and safety regulations. It would also discourage business owners from enacting important measures to protect their customers. By insinuating that selling bottled water and offering "cool off" rooms is proof that owners and promoters know drug use is occurring at their events, this bill may make business owners too afraid to implement such harm-reduction measures, and the safety of our kids will suffer.
* The bill is a dangerous threat to free speech and the right to dance. Property owners, promoters, and event coordinators could be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars or face up to twenty years in federal prison if they hold raves or other events on their property. If the bill becomes law, property owners may be too afraid to rent or lease their property to groups holding hemp festivals, all-night dance parties, rock concerts, or any other event rightly or wrongly perceived as attracting drug users (essentially any event that attracts a young crowd.)
* The bill punishes property owners that rent to people following state law. The bill effectively makes it a federal crime to rent property to medical marijuana patients and their caregivers. While those using or providing marijuana are prosecutable under federal law, this bill would make any property owner that leased or rented property to such people also liable for their offenses.
* Passage of the Senate bill would give momentum to a similar House bill (HR 3782) that is even more broadly written. That bill declares that "Whoever knowingly promotes any rave , dance, music, or other entertainment event, that takes place under circumstances where the promoter knows or reasonably ought to know that a controlled substance will be used or distributed in violation of Federal law or the law of the place were the event is held, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than 9 years, or both." (Emphasis ours).
Posted by Lisa at September 04, 2002 10:50 AM