The Rave Act Threatens Musicians, Dancing and Business Owners

Here are the details of the Rave Act and the Clean-Up Act from Drug Policy Alliance:
Congress is considering two pieces of legislation that could effectively ban live music and dancing, while throwing innocent people like you in jail. If enacted, either bill could prevent you from hearing your favorite band or DJ live. Every musical style would be affected, including rock and roll, Hip Hop, country, and electronic music. The proposed laws could also shut down hemp festivals, circuit parties, and other events government officials don’t like. Both bills would allow overzealous prosecutors to send innocent people to jail for the crimes of others. The two bills are the RAVE Act (H.R. 718) and the CLEAN-UP Act (H.R. 834). Both could be passed this year without your help.

The RAVE Act was first introduced last year in the Senate by Senator Joe Biden (D-DE). A House version was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Thanks to the support of thousands of voters like you, Drug Policy Alliance and a coalition of friends and activists around the country was able to stop both bills last year. Unfortunately, supporters of the RAVE Act are even more determined to pass it this year. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) is sponsoring a new RAVE Act in the House. Additionally, Senator Biden has introduced a Senate version entitled the Illicit Drugs Anti-Proliferation Act.

If enacted, the RAVE Act would make it easier for the federal government to punish property owners for any drug offense that their customers commit – even if they work hard to stop such offenses. If enacted, nightclub and stadium owners would likely stop holding events – such as rock or Hip Hop concerts – in which even one person might use drugs. Because of its broad language, the proposed law would even potentially subject people to twenty years in federal prison if one or more of their guests smoked marijuana at their party or barbecue.

The CLEAN-UP Act was also first introduced last year, but it failed to make it out of committee. This year’s bill has over 60 co-sponsors and could become law without your help. Sponsored by Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA), the Clean, Learn, Educate, Abolish, and Undermine Production (CLEAN-UP) of Methamphetamines Act is largely an innocuous bill that provides more money and training for the clean up of illegal methamphetamine lab. Hidden within the bill, however, is a draconian section that could make dancing and live music federal crimes.

Section 305 of the CLEAN-UP Act stipulates that:

`Whoever, for a commercial purpose, 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 where the event is held, shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, or imprisoned for not more than 9 years, or both.'

This provision will allow any concert promoter, event organizer, nightclub owner and arena or stadium owner to be fined and jailed, since a reasonable person would know some people use drugs at musical events.

Under both the RAVE Act and the CLEAN-UP Act, it doesn’t matter if the event promoter and property owner try to prevent people from using drugs. Nor does it matter if the vast majority of people attending the event are law-abiding citizens that want to listen to music not do drugs. If enacted, either bill could be used to shut down raves, circuit parties, marijuana rallies, unpopular music concerts, and any other event federal officials don’t like.

For more information on the RAVE Act and Drug Policy Alliance’s campaign to stop it, see the The Musician's Guide to Drug Policy Reform.

Click here to read the full text of H.R. 718.
Click here for the full text of H.R. 834.

Update: Here are some more specifics on the bill.

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