Newsbrief: Leahy Drops Support for RAVE Act 9/20/02

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The national mobilization by Drug Policy Alliance, the Electronic Music Defense and Education Fund, Ravers Organized Against the Rave Act (ROAR) and others to stop the fast-moving RAVE Act in its tracks bore fruit this week as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dropped his support for the measure. While billed as a means of reducing the use of club drugs at the popular dance events, the RAVE Act would subject property owners and event promoters to stiff criminal sentences if drugs were found to have been used at their events, and is written so loosely that it could include political events or almost any commercial activity.

In recent weeks, opponents of the bill have engaged in mass phone-ins to senators, discussions with key members in Congress, and loud demonstrations in major cities across the country ( Sen. Leahy, one of the bill's original cosponsors, apparently heard the clamor. He announced Wednesday that he has withdrawn his support for the bill and is no longer a cosponsor.

"As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, loss of his support is an encouraging sign that our legislators are beginning to understand that the RAVE Act is too broad," said the Drug Policy Alliance in announcing Leahy's decision. "By no longer supporting the bill, Senator Leahy has taken a stand in support of public health, safety and free speech, and he should be commended for doing so."

But support for the bill is still strong, DPA warned, and asked voters in states where key senators support the bill to let their representatives know the bill is fatally flawed. Those members include Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) at (202) 224-4041, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) at (202) 224-3744, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)at (202) 224-2152, Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) at (202) 224-5972 and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) at (202) 224-5251.

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Issue #255, 9/20/02 Editorial: Striking at the Heart of Democracy | Do You Read The Week Online? | California Medical Marijuana: Another Bust, Giveaways in Santa Cruz and San Diego, Mass Demo Set for Sacramento Monday | Ordeal of the Pain Doctors: Weitzel Facing Prison for Minor Records Violation, Still Anticipates Vindication in Manslaughter Case | Drug Czar on Anti-Marijuana Crusade -- Threatens Canada, Unleashes New Propaganda Offensive | Rep. Mink Introduces Bill to Reinstate Federal Parole -- Could Free Tens of Thousands If Passed | Swedish Drug War Hardliners Attempt to Block Anti-Prohibition Conference at European Parliament | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | Newsbrief: DC Medical Marijuana Initiative Yanked from Ballot | Newsbrief: Leahy Drops Support for RAVE Act | Newsbrief: Mexican Senate Panel to Look at Approving Medical Marijuana | Votes/Polls Section Updated | Newsbrief: Sentencing Project Finds Most Drug Offenders Are Nonviolent, Minorities | Newsbrief: Illinois Governor Candidate Says He Smoked Pot -- Sort Of | Newsbrief: Waco Police Department Goes Easier on Applicants with Past Marijuana Use History | Web Scan: Arianna Huffington, Action America, Cultural Baggage, Bob Herbert, Mark Fiore | Errata: New York Marijuana Reform Party | The Reformer's Calendar

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