Late on Thursday (April 10, 2003) the Senate and House passed the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (formerly known as the RAVE Act) as an attachment to the child abduction-related Amber Alert Bill.
The Drug Policy Alliance provides background on the issue - they are very concerned, you should be too:
- This year Senator Biden (D-DE) railroaded controversial legislation through Congress that threatens your free speech, right to dance and peacefully assemble and that threatens innocent business owners.
....The "RAVE Act" legislation was introduced in a conference committee as an attachment to Senate bill 151, widely referred to as the AMBER Alert bill, legislation 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 makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute innocent business owners for the drug offenses of their customers - even if they take steps to stop such activity!
Sadly, a Senate and House Conference Committee agreed to attach the "RAVE Act" to the Amber Alert conference report despite the fact that the "RAVE" Act did not have a public hearing, debate or a vote this year. It is important to note due to overwhelming opposition to the "RAVE Act" legislators were forced to remove some of the most egregious language before it passed. 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 activists who sent nearly 30,000 faxes this year alone to their Senators urging them not to support such dangerous legislation. This legislation must be signed by President Bush before becoming law.
When it was first introduced there was widespread belief that this legislation would move through the Congress quickly with no hope of revision. Instead, due to the overwhelming opposition to this legislation it took 10 months, a change of power in the Senate, backroom policymaking, and substantial changes to the bill before it was passed - and even then it did not pass through "normal" legislative procedures.