Report Finds Ecstasy Bill is Flawed

April 10, 2001

A report released today by a California civil rights organization concludes that a proposed bill regarding MDMA or “ecstasy” may impede research on the drug’s medicinal potential, and also pose enforcement problems that could lead to civil rights violations, especially of young people attending raves.

The bill, AB 1416, introduced in the California legislature by Assemblywoman Lynne C. Leach, seeks to place the drug ecstasy within Schedule I of California’s controlled substances law. Additionally, the bill would impose a 90-day mandatory minimum sentence for anyone convicted of using or “being under the influence of” ecstasy.

Before being outlawed under federal law in 1988, MDMA showed promise as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Despite intense targeting by federal law enforcement, MDMA remains very popular today, and is often associated with raves and other events that feature young people and electronic dance music.

The report by the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) indicates that in addition to impeding further research on MDMA’s medicinal potential, AB 1416 will likely lead to civil rights violations.

Because MDMA is odorless and orally ingested, rather than injected or smoked, there is no visible or aromatic evidence of recent use. As a result, police officers will be forced to employ “suspect profiling” and invasive drug testing should the bill become law.

The full CCLE report is available online at: