Ask Dr. Shulgin Online

ARCHIVE:  April 20, 2001

Thought Policing MDMA Use

Dear Dr. Shulgin:

I have heard that there is a Bill on the floor of the California State Assembly (AB-1416) aimed to outlaw MDMA and to make being under its influence an illegal act. Is this so?  -- AllStar

Dear AllStar:

The making of MDMA a Schedule I drug, in California, is a logical move to bring the State law into concordance with Federal Law. But, for it to be a criminal act to be under the influence of MDMA is totally outrageous.

How could the authorities establish that you, sitting on a bench in Golden Gate Park or shimmering on a dance floor at a rave, are under the influence of MDMA?  Come up to you with a $50,000 GCMS instrument in tow, pull out a needle or a Dixie cup, and demand body fluids on the spot to see if you have 10 nanograms MDMA per milliliter in your blood or 1 microgram MDMA per milliliter in your urine?  Maybe ask you a series of carefully thought out questions and watch to see if your answers are too humorous or too honest.  There are neither numbers nor are there profiles that can accurately document MDMA use. 

State legislators who introduce such bills should be reminded that any such law must depend upon evidence that is unobtainable. There is an ancient British common law that assumes the presumption of innocence. It is a shame that it is not today a part of the American justice system. Were it in effect here, there could never be a random urine test for drug use, as that would be a presumption of guilt. It would be up to you, personally, to establish that you are, indeed, innocent.

Think it through. How could you ever prove to anyone that you were innocent of having committed a crime?

-- Dr. Shulgin

More info about AB 1416:
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics has prepared an report on AB 1416. To learn more about AB 1416, and to read our analysis, please visit our AB 1416 page.

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