California Moves to Schedule MDMA (Ecstasy) and add mandatory minimum for using or being "under the influence" of the drug

April 5, 2001

The California legislature is currently considering a bill (AB 1416) that threatens to: (1) make MDMA (Ecstasy) a Schedule I controlled substance in California, and (2) make it a crime to be “under the influence” of MDMA anywhere in California.

Currently in California, MDMA is not an explicitly scheduled substance. Instead, prosecutors charge MDMA offenses under the state’s Controlled Substance Analog Act. AB 1416, will explicitly place MDMA in Schedule I.

It is very likely that the legislature will pass this part of AB 1416 into law, because MDMA is a Schedule I substance under federal law and California will likely defer to the federal determination. Nevertheless, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is preparing an analysis showing that MDMA does not meet the criteria necessary for inclusion in Schedule I, and showing that it was erroneously placed in Schedule I under federal law. The state of California should make its own investigation of MDMA rather than simply duplicate the federal error.

The second part of AB 1416 would make it a misdemeanor criminal offense to be “under the influence” of MDMA anywhere in California. Those convicted would be punished by a mandatory minimum of 90 days in county jail (up to a maximum of 1 year in jail) Under present California law, it is not a crime to be under the influence of MDMA. The CCLE is in the process of preparing an analysis of this provision.

The CCLE’s analysis of AB 1416 will be released soon and distributed to the media and members of the California legislature.

To read the full text of AB 1416, blip to: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/bill/asm/ab_1401-1450/ab_1416_bill_20010223_introduced.html

AB 1416 was introduced by Assemblywoman Lynne C. Leach, whose Internet homepage is at: http://republican.assembly.ca.gov/members/15/