August 6, 2001

 Illinois Governor Signs Harsh New Ecstasy Law

 Today, Illinois Governor George H. Ryan signed into law one of the nation’s harshest laws concerning possession of the popular drug Ecstasy (MDMA). Under the new law, a person convicted of possessing just 15 doses of Ecstasy in Illinois will receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years in prison, up to a maximum of 15 years.

The new law also sets new mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of possessing small amounts of Ecstasy for sale. Possession of 15 doses of Ecstasy with intent to distribute will result in a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 years in prison, up to a maximum of 30 years.

“The new law is grossly unjust,” said Richard Glen Boire, an attorney who specializes in the law and policy of consciousness altering drugs, and who earlier this year testified about Ecstasy before the US Sentencing Commission in Washington D.C.

“The new Illinois law is pure and simple ‘thought policing.’ It is unconscionable to send a person to state prison for 4 years, for choosing to experience the effects of this drug while causing no harm to anyone else,” said attorney Boire. 

Since 1980 Illinois has increased its spending on education by only 47 percent, while skyrocketing the State’s expenditures on prison construction by 214 percent. Illinois currently has the fifth largest percentage of drug offenders behind bars.

According to Boire, “it’s ironic that the mandatory minimum sentence under Illinois’ new Ecstasy law is 4 years -- the same amount of time needed to obtain a college education.”

“Given that Ecstasy is popular with otherwise law-abiding college students,” Boire continued, “Governor Ryan’s new law –with its mandatory minimum sentence—will result in some young people being forced out of college classrooms and into prison cells. What possible good does that do?”

Boire is part of a growing number of Americans who believe that the War on Drugs is causing more harm than good. While many in this new Anti-War movement focus on the systemic problems caused by the War on Drugs (prison over-crowding, police corruption, property forfeiture, and increased death and disease to users who have no choice but to buy drugs in an unregulated “black market”), Boire’s Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (www.cognitiveliberty.org) sees the War on Drugs as violating a more fundamental right – the right of each person to have autonomy over his or her own mind (including the right to use psychoactive drugs) so long as they do not engage in behavior that causes harm to others.

“Without the right to control your own consciousness,” asks Boire, “what freedom remains?”

Resources:

Note that MDMA (Ecstasy) is listed as a controlled substance in Section 204, subparagraph (d)(2) of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act.

Related News: The Federal Ecstasy Prevention Act of 2001, introduced on July 19, 2001 >> Read More

For more information, contact:
Richard Glen Boire, J.D.
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
E-mail: info@cognitiveliberty.org
Telephone & Fax: 1-530-750-7912
Web site: http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/

About the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, law and policy center working in the public interest to protect fundamental civil liberties. The Center seeks to foster cognitive liberty – the basic human right to unrestrained independent thinking, including the right to control one’s own mental processes and to experience the full spectrum of possible thought. Web site: http://www.cognitiveliberty.org

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