Amend The RAVE and IDAP Act -- It's time to create effective and preventative drug policy.
This petition had 360 supporters
In 2014, the electronic music industry was estimated to be worth $6.2 billion. It is an international phenomenon that has sparked the rise of music festival culture, dozens of successful DJ and producer careers, as well as its own unique and prospering culture.
Historically, the electronic dance music culture, which first began in the illegal and underground scene, evolved alongside drug culture and has since continued to remain intertwined with use of recreational drugs - most popularly, MDMA and the similar 'Molly.'
Understanding the severity of the modern day dance music dilemma requires looking back to the late 1980s – back to a drug pandemic that struck such a strong fear in the US that billions of dollars worth of legislation was passed in order to regain control. The 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, put into place by Ronald Reagan to target the infectious and growing population of crack cocaine users, utilized threats of prison time penalties to stamp out the root of the drug addiction: the dealers.
Specifically, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act established yet another statute law that would eventually come to affect drug culture of the modern day. The Crack House Law, part of the 1986 Act, deemed it a felony to “knowingly open, lease, rent, use, or maintain any place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance.”
“[The Crack House Statute] permitted the Justice Department to prosecute property owners who knowingly and intentionally allowed others to use their property to hold events for the purpose of distributing or using drugs.”
In 2001, the focus of the Crack House Statute began to migrate. In New Orleans, James Estopinal was indicted by the Statute “simply for staging the electronic music events known as ‘raves.’” Better known today as Disco Donnie— promoter of dozens of festivals and shows focused on the Midwest and East Coast of the US — Estopinal’s case became the first warning shot fired by the government, meant to alarm all present and coming rave organizers.
Two years later, the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act was suggested, and later passed as the nearly identical Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act. Strangely enough, the Act, sponsored by the current Vice President of the US Joe Biden, was passed without second thought as it was attached to the AMBER Alert Act, albeit a far cry from its partnered child-abduction prevention laws. The name of the RAVE Act couldn’t spell out the real target any louder or clearer. The RAVE Act and since-amended Crack House Statute “only punishes organizers who knowingly allow drug use to happen at their events or premises. If a raver uses drugs and the event organizers doesn’t appear to be aware of it, the organizer can’t get in legal trouble.”
Imagine, behind each spectacular, multi-million dollar festival project is a promoter at risk of facing time in jail for an incident completely out of their hands. Fear is the reason why festivals are constantly fighting the losing battle of attempting to tightly control their fanbase by continuously adding seemingly harmless items to the extensive list of banned items, a decision that has consequently made this generation the most vulnerable.
To make it more tangible, imagine taking away the necessary and beneficial information and education we provide to kids about the dangers of alcohol. They see its use glorified in media, attend events where it is encouraged, and see people doing it. Then, something bad happens. Without being taught the vital information about how much is too much or not being afraid to call for help in fear of being arrested, this is something that happens all too often in the case of drug use.
This legislation isn't preventing drug use - it's preventing those who are able to provide the right tools and education young people need to prevent lost lives and irreparable consequences.
We are not asking to consider the legalization of drugs nor advocating for the use of drugs. We are facing the reality of the situation and asking our legislators to do the same in a collective effort to create a safer, better future.
So what's the solution? There's no easy answer, but it's a long road of change and reshaping the way our nation understands drugs - and it starts with transforming an issue into a real talking point. We're collecting signatures that will eventually make their way to the original cosponsors and sponsors of the IDAP Act, in hopes that our words will help them understand that this legislation has essentially cut off and vilified harm reduction efforts and organizations that have real potential to save lives.
What we need today is a realistic and effect reevaluation of today's drug policy legislation. Instead of tying promoters' hands behind their backs, it's time to realize the omnipresence of drugs in youth culture and approach the issue with a preventative mentality. By providing harm-reduction efforts like education about drugs and their effects and possible detrimental consequences, drug-testing kits and access to safe, non-consequential spaces if they are in need of help both medical or not, we could be saving lives rather than ignoring the continuous deaths of people.
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