The "RAVE" Act makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute innocent business owners for the drug offenses of their customers. This is a threat to free speech and musical expression while placing at risk any hotel/motel owner, concert promoter, event organizer, nightclub owner or arena/stadium owner for the drug violations of 3rd parties - real or alleged - regardless of whether or not the promoter and/or property owner made a good-faith effort to keep their event drug-free.
On May 30th the DEA in Billings, Montana used the RAVE Act to disrupt
a medical marijuana benefit concert held by the local MSU/Billings
NORML/SSDP chapter. They were hoping to raise money for an upcoming medical marijuana ballot initiative in the state. This unprecedented threat of enforcement marks the first time that the federal government has used this new legislation to target events they deem politically unsavory.
A local DEA agent approached the venue management a short time before the
concert and notified them that they could be fined $250,000 if anyone smoked
marijuana during the benefit. This agent was also kind enough to leave a copy of the RAVE Act with the management. After speaking with their attorney, they understandably felt that they could not risk their business and were forced to cancel the show. The local NORML chapter also lost several hundred dollars spent on radio spots to
promote the show.
Promoters of the fundraiser attested to the fact that the same musicians have played at the same location previously without problems or visits from the federal government. Local concert goers were appalled to see law enforcement use their authority to shut down a small gathering intended to
raise funds for a good cause. The incident is believed to be the first
time the new law has been used to prohibit a public event since it was
enacted in April.
The RAVE Act (A.K.A. the Illicit Drug Proliferation Act) was first
introduced last year by Senator Biden (D-DE); but after severe opposition
and two co-sponsors dropped off the legislation, it was stalled until
this session when Biden managed to attach it to the so-called "Amber Alert"
bill. These questionable provisions became law without public debate
or an actual vote in Congress.
The RAVE Act gives the federal government the power to prosecute
business owners and event organizers if they make their property available for
"the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled
substance." This overly broad and overly vague law applies to "any
place," including bars and nightclubs, hotels, apartment buildings, and
homes. NORML fears that this vague law will soon be used to target
much larger political rallies like the Seattle Hempfest, the Boston Freedom
Rally, and even the annual national NORML conference.
It's your responsibility to make sure this type of persecution is stopped immediately!