California Renews Effort to Add 90-day Mandatory Minimum for Using or Being "Under the Influence" of MDMA (Ecstasy)

January 4, 2002

The California legislature has renewed its efforts to pass a bill (SB 1103) that threatens to: (1) make it a crime to be “under the influence” of MDMA (Ecstasy) anywhere in California, and (2) make MDMA a Schedule I controlled substance in California.

SB 1103 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 (and 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.

Another section of SB 1103 would explicitly place MDMA in Schedule I of California’s Controlled Substances Act.  Currently, MDMA is not an explicitly scheduled substance in California. Instead, prosecutors charge MDMA offenses under the state’s Controlled Substance Analog Act.

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) has prepared an analysis of SB 1103 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 CCLE’s report goes on to emphasize that imposing a 90-day mandatory minimum for using MDMA is ill considered, ineffective and unjust. In addition to pointing out that the Federal Judicial Center has found that “mandatory minimum sentencing statutes have unintended consequences that compromise the basic fairness and integrity of the…criminal justice system,” the CCLE report notes that the bill makes criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens based solely on an “unapproved” state of consciousness. The report concludes by emphasizing that this prohibition, in addition to codifying an Orwellian concept akin to “thought crime,” is an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to freedom of thought as protected by the First Amendment, and on the fundamental right to privacy, including the Fifth Amendment right to autonomy over one’s interior environment.

To learn more about SB 1103, and to read the full text of the CCLE report, blip to: