FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2000

CCLE analysis of flawed Ecstasy bill makes an impact!
Good news with regard to the Methamphetamine and Club Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000.

As originally introduced on May 25, 2000, the Club Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000 would have made it a federal crime to disseminate information about using or manufacturing Ecstasy, and would have arbitrarily equated Ecstasy to methamphetamine for the purposes of federal sentencing. In line with an analysis by the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, both of these flawed provisions have been struck!

A quick update: Last week (September 27, 2000), the Methamphetamine and Club Drug Anti-Proliferation Act was incorporated into the Children's Health Act of 2000 (H.R. 4365), and passed by both the House and Senate. The Children's Health Act of 2000 has been delivered to President Clinton for his signature. He is expected to sign it, perhaps as early as today.

A legislative analysis by Richard Glen Boire, J.D., of the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, showed that the information ban was unconstitutional, and that banning “harm-reduction” and other accurate information about Ecstasy would irresponsibly endanger users, including thousands of young adults. This analysis also revealed that equating Ecstasy with methamphetamine for sentencing purposes would unintentionally set up an incentive for dealers to sell bogus and adulterated Ecstasy. Mr. Boire’s analysis pointed out that such a policy would significantly increase rather than decrease the individual and social harms associated with Ecstasy use. (See http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/reports/clubdrugmemo.pdf)

On July 25, 2000 the House Judiciary Committee struck the information ban from the bill, but left unchanged the flawed punishment provisions equating Ecstasy with methamphetamine.

The following day, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics issued a press release to the media and members of Congress underscoring that “Inasmuch as many injuries associated with MDMA use at raves are the result of receiving adulterated and bogus “Ecstasy,” the Club Drug Act [sentencing] provisions will significantly increase the dangers associated with MDMA.” (See http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/newsrelease/july262000.htm)

In an ongoing to effort to point out the flaws in the bill, on September 6, 2000, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, distributed an analysis alert titled “What’s (Still) Wrong with the Methamphetamine and Club Drug Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000?” This alert bulleted 4 fundamental problems with equating Ecstasy to methamphetamine for sentencing purposes. (See http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/newsrelease/sept72000.htm) With the help of volunteer members of the CCLE, this alert was widely distributed to the media, drug policy reform groups, and approximately 40 members of Congress.

Our analyses and alerts made a definite impact. The bill has been significantly tempered.

On September 27, 2000, when the club drug provisions were attached to the Children’s Health Act, the sentencing provision that would have equated Ecstasy to methamphetamine was completely removed! In its place, Subtitle C of the Children's Health Act instructs the Sentencing Commission to use its own discretion in setting the penalty for Ecstasy and other “club drug” offenses. The new provision merely tells the Sentencing Commission that Congress has a “sense” that the current punishment for “high-level traffickers” of Ecstasy are too low and should be increased.

This is a definite victory for drug policy reform. National media and law enforcement attention on Ecstasy and “club drugs” has never been higher. The fact that Congress has seen fit to temper its reaction in the midst of such hysteria shows that reasoned analysis still carries weight.

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics, was the only organization to produce and distribute professional legal analysis and policy updates focused on the flawed Ecstasy and club drug provisions. We also provided the central site on the Internet for obtaining updates and continued analysis of the bills. Thanks to all the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics members who helped disseminate the CCLE analysis, to our financial supporters, and to all the drug reform and news organizations that used our reports to substantiate the assertions that the Ecstasy and club drug provisions needed rethinking.

-- Wrye Sententia
Director of Operations
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics

This press release is available online at http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/newsrelease/Oct42000.htm

The full text of the Children's Health Act of 2000 (H.R. 4365) is available at:
http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/DLL/children'shealthact2000.htm

The CCLE's general MDMA (Ecstasy) Law and Policy Pages can be browsed at:
http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/DLL/mdmaindex.htm

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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Visit CCLE's general MDMA (Ecstasy) Law and Policy Pages

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