View Full Version : The RAVE Act

09-04-2003, 13:31
Hi, I'm from the UK and usually post in our regional forum.

This has come to my attention and I thought it would be of interest to the US BLers.

Apologies if it's been posted elsewhere or if this is the wrong forum (wasn't sure if it was media or politics)

In an attempt to sneak the “RAVE” Act through the Senate,
Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) has just introduced the legislation into
conference committee as an add-on to the otherwise unrelated National
AMBER Alert Network Act of 2003 (S151). S151 has passed the Senate and
House and is now in Conference! If Biden is successful, the “Rave” Act
is likely to become law without ever having a public hearing, debate or
a vote. Don’t allow overzealous prosecutors to send innocent people to
jail for the crimes of others.

More Information:

In an attempt to sneak the “RAVE Act” through the Senate Senator Joe
Biden (D-DE) has just introduced the Act into conference committee as an
add-on to the National AMBER Alert Network Act of 2003 (S151). S151 is a
bill about child abduction that has nothing to do with drug policy issues.
The “RAVE” Act, in contrast, has not passed a single committee this year.
In addition, it was so controversial when it was introduced last year
that two Senators withdrew their sponsorship. The “RAVE” Act is a bill
that would make it easier for the federal government to punish business
owners for the drug offenses of their customers – even if they take steps
to stop such activity.

S151 has passed the Senate and House and is now in Conference. If the
Democrats are successful in their efforts to attach the “RAVE” Act onto
an unrelated bill, it is likely to become law without ever having a public
hearing, debate or a vote. Opponents of the “RAVE” Act argue that it would
put innocent business owners at risk of criminal prosecution, threaten
free speech, be detrimental to public health, and could be used by
overzealous prosecutors to target racial minorities or politically
unpopular groups.

If enacted, the “RAVE” Act would make it easier for the federal government
to punish property owners for any drug offense that their customers commit
– even if they work hard to stop such offenses. If enacted, nightclub and
stadium owners would likely stop holding events – such as rock or Hip Hop
concerts – in which even one person might use drugs. Because of its broad
language, the proposed law would even potentially subject people to twenty
years in federal prison if one or more of their guests smoked marijuana at
their party or barbecue.

The "RAVE" Act wouldn't just apply to raves, bars, and nightclubs. It
would apply to landlords, hotel managers, and all property owners
(including home owners). By expanding a law that is already being abused,
the "RAVE" Act will have the effect of discouraging business owners from
implementing public safety measures, such as having paramedics on call
for large events. It will also drive concerts and other musical events
away from health and safety regulations. Make no mistake about it; this
bill will put the lives of our youth in jeopardy. It will also discourage
business owners from holding events or working with non-profits that
federal officials don't like.

The “RAVE” Act was first introduced last year in the Senate by Senator
Joe Biden (D-DE). A House version was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith
(R-TX). Thanks to the support of thousands of voters like you, Drug Policy
Alliance and a coalition of friends and activists around the country was
able to stop both bills last year. Unfortunately, supporters of the “RAVE”
Act are even more determined to pass it this year. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)
is sponsoring a new “RAVE” Act in the House. Additionally, Senator Biden
has introduced a Senate version entitled the Illicit Drugs
Anti-Proliferation Act.

Opposition to the “RAVE” Act continues to grow. The Drug Policy Alliance,
the American Civil Liberties Union, concert promoters, the electronic
music community and others spent the day making calls and telling
legislators to protect business owners by halting the attachment of the
“RAVE” Act.


That's http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=1574

11-04-2003, 09:34
Today the AMBER Alert Act, and thus the RAVE Act, was approved by Congress. Now it just has to be passed by Bush to go into effect, so it will probably happen in a few days.


11-04-2003, 23:52

It will get signed...


12-04-2003, 00:38
Well there ya have it.... Backdoor legislation has worked once again. Those in control have circumvented the checks placed upon them by the very documents that empower thier 'leadership' in this country.

A little revolution now and then is a good thing.... It's been a while, and we definitely need one now. Congress seems to believe that it can trample upon the civil liberties of an entire culture in a horribly misguided attempt to enforce it's dated and self-destructive drug policy. Our voices were obviously ignored by the government that exists to serve us in spite of recieving over 13,000 formal complaints within the last week alone.

If such peaceful and reasonable methods are to be calously ignored, then perhaps it is time for a different approach. I am not advocating violence in any way. I do, however, feel that new and extreme methods must be found to make the government realize that it exists solely to serve us. When 33% of a population is opposed to a war and the government still goes ahead without being able to justify thier actions to a reasonably intelligent sector of the population who disagrees, then it is time for some drastic changes.

Appologies for the rant, but this wretched news has just ruined my good mood.

12-04-2003, 01:03
Originally posted by Shyrac

Congress seems to believe that it can trample upon the civil liberties of an entire culture in a horribly misguided attempt to enforce it's dated and self-destructive drug policy.

^^^^Well said..........the law makers in this country make me fuckin sick!!!!!!!!!:X :X :X

12-04-2003, 05:31

Everyone hit up the link, and send a letter. Obviously we didn't send enough when it was still being voted on, but maybe we still have a chance to let these cock-goblins know they're fucking with a pretty big crew.

12-04-2003, 13:03
"Dear Members, Subscribers and Friends,

I do not normally use our alert channel to send a personal message.
However, I wanted to let you know that the Illicit Drug Anti-
Proliferation Act (also called the "RAVE Act"), which was attached to
the AMBER Alert bill, passed both the House and Senate late yesterday
(April 10).

The RAVE Act threatens free speech and musical expression while
placing at risk any hotel/motel owner, concert promoter, event
organizer, nightclub owner or arena/stadium owner for the drug
violations of 3rd parties - real or alleged - even if the event
promoter and/or property owner made a good-faith effort to keep their
event drug-free. It applies not just to electronic-music parties,
but to any type of public gathering, including theatrical
productions, rock concerts, DJ nights at local bars, and potentially
even political rallies. It gives heightened powers and discretion to
prosecutors, who may use it to target events they personally don't
like - such as Hip-Hop events and g** and lesbian fundraisers.

Sadly, the RAVE Act was added to the AMBER Alert bill conference
report at the very last minute by Senator Biden (D-DE), its original
sponsor. The AMBER Alert bill creates a system for responding to
child abduction. It has nothing to do with drug policy. The RAVE
Act had not passed even a single committee in the House or Senate
this year. One senator's pet issue made a mockery of the Democratic
process - becoming law without any public hearing or opportunity for
input whatsoever.

You should be aware that your letters and faxes clearly had an
effect. (FYI - you sent Congress 13,000 faxes this week alone!!)
For example, the word "rave" was removed from the version of the bill
that passed. Eliminating such blatant discrimination is a victory
for our continued freedom of speech. Also, the original bill
suggested that prosecutors should view the sale of water and the
presence of glowsticks or massage oil as evidence of drug use. These
ludicrous "findings" were completely removed thanks to you.

President Bush will sign this child abduction bill, which means the
RAVE Act will become law as well. We will be working with the
legislators who opposed this provision - such as Senators Durbin,
Kennedy and Leahy and Representatives Conyers and Scott - for its
repeal. In the meantime, however, it is up to all of us to be the
watchdogs of its enforcement.

Attorney General John Ashcroft will have to make decisions about its
enforcement priority among the many public safety issues the
Department of Justice handles. He must be held responsible when he
implements this scheme. We want him to know that he is not free to
shut down our dance clubs, our festivals and our freedoms. We will
be watching the activities of law enforcement and prosecutors, and we
will act when our rights are violated. You can help us by faxing
Attorney General Ashcroft here.

We thank our many partners in this effort for your hard work: EMEF,
ROAR, Buzzlife Productions, Davey D., electronic dance and music
organizations throughout the U.S., club owners, hotel organizations,
beverage and licensing groups, the ACLU and many, many others. But
most of all, I want to say thank you personally to our members and

You truly deserve credit for reacting so quickly and so forcefully.
It has really been amazing. When Bill McColl, our Director of
National Affairs, told me about this issue last June he said that he
thought the RAVE Act would pass in about 2 weeks. You proved us
wrong. It took 10 months, a change in control of the Senate,
backroom maneuverings and substantial changes to the bill. I'm
proud of the hard work of our members, friends and our coalition.
Rest assured we will continue to work together to mobilize opposition
and advocate to fix this dangerous law.


Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director
Drug Policy Alliance"

12-04-2003, 18:49
Senator Biden's office can be reached at (202) 224-5042.

To find your Senator's phone number visit www.senate.gov.

12-04-2003, 19:41
does anyone have a link to the text of the bill showing where the rave act is included. i read the entire text at congress.gov, searching both s151 and hr1104 and found no lanuage of the rave act on after the bill was passed

12-04-2003, 20:10
You can find PDF versions of the bill here.


12-04-2003, 23:06
this is a sad state of affairs. i just hope that promoters of all kinds don't back down from this kind of bullshit. concerts, parties, whatever, it effects everyone. this is just a sort of speculation but i really don't think that major concert promoters are going to stand still on this one. Ozzfest is coming up and i really don't think that this particular event is going to go by without at least one person sparking a bowl, at the very least. while it may be that the people behind these events go through great efforts to keep their shows a drug free environment, drugs will almost always find a way in. and it's really unfair to the hardworking folks that put these shows on because they aren't really responsible for people cramming chemicals into their body.
it should be interesting to see how this debate plays out.

13-04-2003, 04:48
This isn't the exact text of the bill, but if you read what was passed it says you have to knowingly be involved in running a place or an event for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using drugs. There was a piece that didn't get included in the bill passed that said even if you took steps to prevent it from happening (like having good security and doing searches) that you could still be charged.

If I got busted for throwing an electronic music event, I'd argue that I threw it for music and dancing, and NOT for drug use. And if people were using drugs, I'd argue I did everything I could to prevent it and they did it without my consent or knowlege.

So... I think there's still hope yet.

13-04-2003, 07:21
Well not that it will do any good but I emailed all my local news affiliates in my area, phoenix az, so maybe they will run something on it that will bring some much needed attention from the public. Not that the only thing on TV is the war anyway. All I did was copy most of the text from the email and emailed it to tons of people. If you want to make a difference do something about it. Even if it is something small so that if it does become law you can say "damn, at least I tried".


15-04-2003, 19:26
At this point, we're going to have to wait until the government chooses to flex this newest muscle and tries to prosecute a promoter or venue under the new laws.

Then we have to cross our fingers and hope that the defendant has enough financial backing (or a very good pro bono lawyer) to fight this law all the way to the Supreme Court. Some people's lives are bound to be ruined in the process, but hopefully when forced to stand up in court, the RAVE act will crumble like it has time and again. Despite its re-written language, it's still just a mutant version of the crack house law, which has never successfully stood up in court.


Blue Lava
16-04-2003, 00:31
A lot of gay guys have been wondering if this will shut down, or impact the gay circuit. The prevailing sense is that it won't. We'll have to see how this law is implemented, but the general consensus is that this law will mostly be used to shut down the 18+ parties in the suburbs where a lot of drugs are being used. That's really what this is all about. It's not about shutting down music venues. It's not about stamping out drug use... in the broad sense. It's about keeping 18 year olds off of heavy and hard drugs. I, for one, am not against that. Perhaps I'm being hypocritical, but teenagers raving sounds scary to me.

16-04-2003, 02:06
i cant believe this

not only does this suck, but it is unconstitutional.

this will be good government class fodder

i really dislike our country

grr!!! ... sorry..

this was a big vent

16-04-2003, 02:18
Originally posted by Blue Lava
A lot of gay guys have been wondering if this will shut down, or impact the gay circuit. The prevailing sense is that it won't. We'll have to see how this law is implemented, but the general consensus is that this law will mostly be used to shut down the 18+ parties in the suburbs where a lot of drugs are being used. That's really what this is all about. It's not about shutting down music venues. It's not about stamping out drug use... in the broad sense. It's about keeping 18 year olds off of heavy and hard drugs. I, for one, am not against that. Perhaps I'm being hypocritical, but teenagers raving sounds scary to me.

Maybe it is only designed to target 18+ raves, but the language of the act is vague enough to allow it apply to just about any type of event. It won't be long before some hick police department uses it to harrass some other "undesirable" scene.

16-04-2003, 10:45
Since when did it become such a taboo thing for 18+ parties to exist? That is still technically an adult in this country, and since when did people over the age of 21 become the only ones "responsible" or worthy enough to have parties and music? Fuck you.

16-04-2003, 16:18
as many of you may know, the RAVE act got passed in the U.S. This act does not directly outlaw raves, but it will make it extremely difficult for people involved with the electronic music scene to flourish. The act will hold promoters of music events responsible if ANY drug usage is proven at an event. It was attached to an extremely popular (and reasonable) act called the Amber Act.

many of you may have written your senators, some of you may have been in the group of people that sat on the steps of Capital Hill. However, how many of you saw the scene's voice really get out there? i sure didn't. The majority of U.S. citizens don't know that many ravers are actually music enthusiasts, not just a bunch of cracked out druggies. Oh, and there are talented electronic musicians? gee, didn't know that either.....
I know it may seem to late to act, but it's not. this act is unconstitutional (freedom of speech and assembly) and if we really fight, we can change things.
this scene supports many of us in paying our rent. for others, it provides an escape from the jobs we have to pay our rent. Either way, most of us wouldn't be posting on bluelight if the rave scene were not important to us.
It's about time we let the public know our side of the story. Until their is noise, the government could care less about what we, as a scene, want. Right now, the public only knows one side and the government still looks like the good guys: fighting a war against drug havens. We need to prove that this is a war against music and a real, thriving business that affects millions.
So, I am proposing we stir things up. I've talked to some videographers and computer whizzes in my area (midwest) about making a video. Also, my dad worked in radio, so i can hook up some connections there. I'd like to get a documentary out to the public, perhaps get something on cable. we need to make our struggle known.
right now, this is just an idea, but it will be reality if we can just get a few people to work on it. if you think you would like to help in any way, please post here or email me @ [email protected]

Blue Lava
16-04-2003, 20:03
Vege - We'll have to see how it goes. My guess is that prosecuters are going to face some tough legal hurdles implementing these laws anyway. But, the political pressure for this law to pass has been entirely coming from the soccer moms. So, that's who this law is going serve... my guess. They are worried about their kids.

Acidfiend - My position is entirely a personal opinion. The basic problem is 18 year olds are not out on their own. They do not pay their own rent, or make their own way in the world. Mommy and Daddy still pay for everything. And they find out what their kids are doing. Living with your parents and doing drugs is a recipe for disaster.

21-04-2003, 15:53
ok, i totally think this is bull shit. its unconstitutional blah blah. but you realize that there are cops out there watching this board? they get paid to read all of your posts every day. they're prolly registered members! look at all of the posts on this board and the different forums and tell me we dont give out the vibe that there are a lot of drugs around us and we dont really mind it. almost every post is about some new trip report or some new drug they found or something. i mean, its obvious that the majority of ravers like drugs.. computers are no place to be discussing those things. its worse than a phone. EVERYBODY has access to a message board. and if the rave act is passed, you realize that the po's are gonna be checking the board for the next parties comming up right? and they're gonna be calling the info line just like the rest of us and they're going to shut it down like bastards. i cant say i really know what to do about it, but we need to be louder. someone before me said it too. maybe the media is the way to go. i would be willing to help out.. ummm... pix in some video or something, though i dont really know yet what it should be about or anything. i might not really be an asset, i'm no computer wiz or anything, but i care. oh yeah.. and i am 19--not 21 and i do live on my own and i do pay my own rent and buy my own groceries and pay my own bills. and why would they be attacking the 18+ events anyway? why not go for the all ages events? i mean, jesus theres 14 and 15 year olds up in there! now thats scary.

so what to do about this anyways? going for the media is a good idea. the radio and tv stations.. people watch them a lot.. writing the senators and what not.. hmm.. maybe we e-mail the president? is there any way even to do that? because if he doesnt pass it then maybe they'll take it off. maybe some sort of rally type thing? at each states capitol? i mean, not even just ravers showing up. this isnt attacking just ravers. if everyone told everyone they knew that liked going to concerts or enjoying they're type of music late hours of the night then they should be there. this will affect everyone, not just ravers. i mean, what are we suposed to do for entertainment? i mean, if theres nothing to do.. no parties or concerts to go to.. what do you usually do?

sigh. i just dont know. this is total bull shit though. and if we just keep sittin here rantin and ravin about it then nothings gonna happen. we all know that. anyway. i'll think about it at work today....