Newsbrief: RAVE Act Sheds Another Cosponsor 9/27/02

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The RAVE Act, a proposed expansion of existing federal "crack house" statutes to include entertainment venues, appeared on a fast-track to approval as little as three weeks ago, but there are now increasing signs that opponents may be able to derail or amend the bill. This week, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) removed his name from the list of the bill's cosponsors. Last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did the same. Thus, a bill that appeared to have unanimous bipartisan support is in danger of becoming a partisan issue.

Of the original six cosponsors of the bill, evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, only one Democrat remains: Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), along with Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), author of the original "crack house" law and sponsor of this attempt to expand its purview into the world of techno and trance. Republican cosponsors, who have so far stood firm, are Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Charles Grassley (IA) and Strom Thurmond (SC).

The defections appear to be the fruit of an inside-outside strategy to defeat or amend the bill. The Drug Policy Alliance, the Electronic Music Education and Defense Fund, and a variety of locally based rave culture organizations have combined lobbying in Congress with feisty demonstrations and "protest raves," as well as hammering at any media outlets that will pay attention. The strategy seems to be working, but time is running out. The bill could still come up for a vote this fall, and the conventional wisdom at this point is that it will pass, amended or not.

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Issue #256, 9/27/02 Editorial: The Tulia Lynchings | Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally in Sacramento | WAMM Files Federal Motion for Return of Marijuana Seized in Dispensary Raid | Calling on Students to Raise Your Voices for Repeal of the HEA Drug Provision | Former British Drug Czar Mo Mowlam Calls for Total Global Legalization, Cites Need to Quit Funding Political Violence | UC San Diego Orders Student Group to Drop Hyperlink to FARC Web Site, Cites Patriot Act | Colombian Leader Meets with Bush, Paramilitary Leader to Surrender Following US Indictment | Newsbrief: Putin to Create Russian DEA | Newsbrief: RAVE Act Sheds Another Cosponsor | Newsbrief: Buzzkill -- Venerable DC Weekly Rave Party Dies from Overdose of Ecstasy Enforcement | Newsbrief: UN Drug Control Chief Warns Canada Not to Legalize Marijuana | Newsbrief: French Cannabis Growers Create Facts on Ground | Newsbrief: German Health Ministry Says Safe Drug Centers Save Lives | Do You Read The Week Online? | Action Alerts: Rave Bill, Medical Marijuana, Higher Education Act Drug Provision | The Reformer's Calendar

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