June 18 — Billings, Montana: Only 60 days after passage of the latest version of the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act — also known as the RAVE Act — a Billings DEA agent used threats of prosecution to force the cancellation of a combined benefit for the Montana chapter of NORML and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Author and proponent of the Act, Sen. Joe Biden (D) of Delaware, claimed the Act was aimed at “raves”, but it was so vaguely worded that it could easily be used against any event or venue where any attendee might use illicit drugs. (Think rock concert, hemp festival, etc.) As written, this act could be used against ANY gathering opposed by local authorities.
Last year the bill stalled because of intense opposition from reformers and others, but Sen. Biden got it passed this time by slipping it into the very popular Amber Alert Bill — which deals with child abduction.
“This looks like the first application of the RAVE Act, and this is a very scary precedent, said NORML Foundation head Allen St. Pierre. “Preemptively shutting down a First Amendment-protected event is something that just doesn’t happen in America,” he told DRCNet. “This is absolutely what we feared and predicted would happen if the RAVE Act passed….”
“This confirms all our fears about the RAVE Act,” said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. “This isn’t about drug parties or raves, it’s about having a club to hold over people’s heads, whether its hemp festivals, circuit parties, dances, whatever. The RAVE Act is being used to suppress political speech. This is exactly what Sen. Biden said would not happen, and now it’s happening.”
Other national drug reform organizations also expressed shock and outrage. “This is just more evidence that the current administration is engaged in a culture war targeting medical marijuana patients, glass blowers, festival goers and young people,” said SSDP national director Shawn Heller.
Following this outrageous attack upon our First Amendment, drug reformers are mobilizing. “We may have a coalition up to fight this by the end of the day,” said Allen St. Pierre, ExecutiveDirector of the NORML Foundation. “The Drug Policy Alliance warned us the RAVE Act would be used to suppress free speech, and they haven’t been proven wrong. Looks like we have our first case.”
Because of the ugly incident in Montana, Kansas NORML feels it might be prudent to put on hold any plans for similar events until we see what happens next. We’re hoping that the situation changes in time for another Hemp Family Reunion late this summer. Please help us by going to Drug Policy Alliance to send your legislators a pre-written message urging repeal of the RAVE Act. They need to hear from every one of us.
Law Enforcement AGAINST Prohibition?
Yes! LEAP is comprised of current and former law enforcement officers who support drug regulation rather than prohibition.
Thursday evening, June 12, several Kansas NORML members attended a very persuasive presentation by Jack A. Cole, executive director of LEAP. Mr. Cole’s law enforcement career included 12 years of undercover work, where he witnessed first-hand the horrors of the drug war. He presented several very compelling reasons, solidly backed by statistics, for the US to abandon its War on Drugs and try a completely different approach: Legalization of all illicit drugs!
The first argument against this idea is, of course, that legalization would surely result in skyrocketing use and abuse. Mr. Cole’s response is presented in the form of black and white statistics which show that in Holland, where cannabis is nearly legal, the rate of use by teenagers is much lower than it is here in the US, where marijuana remains a “forbidden fruit”.
Other convincing arguments put forth by Mr. Cole included the powerful suggestion that removing the profit motive from the drug trade by legalizing drugs — and even distributing them for free(!) — would immediately put dealers out of business. All crime arising from prohibition would abruptly cease.
Taxpayers who choose to use these government-provided and quality-controlled substances wouldn’t have to worry about going to prison and consuming massive quantities of taxpayer dollars in exchange for free room and board. The consumer would remain a productive member of our society instead of a burden upon its shoulders.
Jack Cole and other members of LEAP present their powerful case for legalization to civic groups, senior citizens’ associations and other probable voters across the nation. According to Mr. Cole, by the time his presentation ends, 80% of his audience has been won over.
Let’s help these guys!
- Go to their website and join Friends of LEAP.
- Line up some speaking gigs for them in your area.
- Tell your friends and family about LEAP and their goals.
- Send them money every chance you get.