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RAVE Act Abuse

From a story on AlterNet last month:

Only two months after the RAVE Act was passed by Congress it has been used by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to intimidate the owners of a Billings, Montana, venue into canceling a combined benefit for the Montana chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). One of the biggest reasons activists waged a national campaign to stop the RAVE Act was the fear that it would be used to shut down political events like this.

On the day the fundraiser was set to take place a Billings-based DEA agent presented the venue owners with a copy of the RAVE Act warning them that they could face a fine of $250,000 if illicit drugs were found in the premises. The bands -- most of which regularly played at the venue -- were also approached and warned that their participation in the event could result in a fine.

Rather than risk the possibility of enormous fines, the venue decided to cancel the event. This blatant intimidation by the DEA was obviously designed to shut down the marijuana reform fundraiser. Unless the American people speak out against this attack on free speech, the DEA will be emboldened to use the law against other events they do not like, such as all-night dance parties, hip hop concerts, hemp festivals, and circuit parties...

The RAVE Act expands federal law to make it easier to jail and imprison event organizers and property owners that fail to stop drug offenses from occurring on their property -- even in cases when they take serious steps to reduce drug offenses. It applies to "any place", including bars and nightclubs, hotels, apartment buildings, and homes. Legal experts warned that the law was so broad that it could be used to shut down not only raves and electronic music events, but also Hip Hop, rock, and country music concerts, sporting events, gay and lesbian fundraisers, political protests, and any other event federal agents do not like.

On May 30th an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) told managers of the Eagle Lodge in Billings, Montana that the Lodge could be fined $250,000 if anyone smoked marijuana during a planned benefit to raise money for a campaign to change Montana's medical marijuana law. After consulting their attorneys, the Eagle Lodge canceled the event.

Using anti-drug laws to make it more difficult to organize opposition to anti-drug laws? That's clever. It's not right, but it's clever.

The Electronic Music Defense and Education Fund's page on the RAVE Act (technically the "Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act") can be found here. (By the way, I tried to find a pro-RAVE Act Website to provide the other side's opinion, but after sifting through 30 pages of Google entries, couldn't do so.)

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Comments

I am not a promoter of raves but i am a producer/dj.
I would like to comment on the rave act...way to go bush! For one very good reason. Raves and other music and social events do promote drug use, and they do nothing about it. Until the bill passed it was a mess. I doesn't scare me to throw a dance but not a rave. Raves are unorgainzed parties that have little or no security measures. With the right organization skills they can be sucessfuly thrown without any consquences to the company throwing them. until people learn to respect the entertainment industry cosmetics things can be done.

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