ACTION ALERT: Meth Bill Outlaws Any Drug Speech 

ACTION ALERT: Meth Bill Outlaws Any Drug Speech 
Posted by FoM on January 31, 2000 at 14:03:18 PT
For Immediate Release!
Source: Drug Policy Foundation
Action is urgently needed to block passage of S.486, the “DEFEAT Meth Act.” In addition to containing hefty sentencing enhancements for illegal production of both amphetamine and methamphetamine and significantly increasing funding for law enforcement, the bill’s most threatening aspect is its less publicized restrictions on drug related speech.
 The bill makes it illegal "to teach or demonstrate the manufacture of a controlled substance, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of a controlled substance." This provision was aimed ostensibly at preventing the Internet publication of instructions on how to make methamphetamine. In reality however, it is a mandate so broad that it criminalizes any published speech about illegal drugs, even if that speech is aimed at reducing the harms associated with drug use. For example, the bill would apply to information about safe dosage levels of illegal drugs and which combinations of drugs pose dangers. It would apply to explanations about how to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. It would apply to instructions on how to identify psilocybin mushrooms in the wild, or extract codeine from Tylenol 3. In short, anything that could possibly be "intended" to encourage drug use. Additionally, the bill makes advertising any information that could lead to the sale of drug paraphernalia a felony. This would mean that if one were to post the address of a head shop to a newsgroup, or the e-mail address of someone who makes water-pipes as a hobby, it would be a crime punishable by three years in jail, even though head shops themselves remain legal. Under this bill, even linking to a paraphernalia site is illegal. Given the vague and inclusive interpretation of federal conspiracy laws, almost any information about criminalized drugs and any dissent against existing drug laws could be construed by federal law enforcement as furthering drug crimes. Any anti-Drug War website could be shut down directly, or indirectly because Internet service providers, who could also be prosecuted under the law, would refuse to host such sites. S.486 already passed the Senate by a voice vote on Nov. 19. The bill is now awaiting House action. Chris Cannon, the sponsor of the House version of the bill, told the Village Voice in a recent article that legislators supporting the bill were pushing for hearings in March, and wanted to pass the bill this year, “sooner rather than later." The importance of S.486 cannot be understated. With it, Congress is quietly attempting to escalate the drug war to a whole new level, one which grossly assaults the civil rights of every American citizen, particularly the freedom of speech. If it becomes law, the publishers of drug related Web sites and books could wind up in jail, or out of business—including DPF. While hearings may not take place until March, it is critical that House members hear voices of opposition as early as possible. The Drug Policy Foundation urges you to contact your representative and tell them to oppose S.486.To Call: Find out who your representative is by calling the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 225-3121. To Fax, Write a Letter or E-mail: Call the Capitol Switchboard, then call your representative’s office to get the fax number. You can e-mail your House members by going to . Letters can be addressed to your representative as follows: Honorable [name of your representative] U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515-1101 THE DRUG POLICY FOUNDATION Connecticut Ave., NW Suite B-500 Washington, DC 20008-2328 USA Tel: (202) 537-5005 Fax: (202) 537-3007 dpf Related Articles:Washington 451 - 1/25/2000 To 'Meth Bill' Would Censor Information - 8/13/99 Madness Hits Congress - 8/08/99 
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Comment #7 posted by tom cunningham on February 01, 2000 at 09:37:54 PT:
I guess if this bill passes the ONDCP and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America will have to take down all of those sites where they dish out the "straight dope" on marijuana. For example, the Drug Free America's page on marijuana,, gives teenagers step-by-step instructions on how to roll the infamous Dutchie. They even suggest downing a '40 to enhance the buzz. Thank God good ol' Orrin is putting a stop to this egregious abuse of cyberspace
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Comment #6 posted by Wiccan on January 31, 2000 at 23:46:01 PT
Who was the other governor to speak out?
I know our awesome governor Gary Johnson said that it was cool to spark it, who else did? Jesse Ventura?
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Comment #5 posted by kaptinemo on January 31, 2000 at 19:07:49 PT
Dave is all too right
Yes, they can and have used things like getting addresses from newspapers of people who have written Letters to the Editor about cannabis. They've flown over and driven by houses with FLIR detectors to see if they can spot heat signatures of growing operations. Sure, it does happen. But our silence is part of the reason why the DrugWarriors are able to do what they do. Our fear plays into their hands. It is exactly why they behave the way that they do - they think they are hunters - and that we are no better than rabbits. But what I am proposing is simple, and for the person who does it, risk-free. All they have to do is write or call their Congressperson and say: Can you tell me, Mr. or Ms. Congressperson, why this bill does not infringe on my First Ammendment rights, when it so clearly *does*? You don't have to explain the reason for your call. All you have to do is demand an answer why they think that they are not violating their oaths to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution - as they have sworn to do. Put it *in exactly that way*. LEAVE THEM NO ROOM TO WEASEL THEIR WAY OUT OF IT. If they ask you *why* you are so interested, put the ball back in their court and tell them every American *should* be worried when somebody threatens their First Ammendment rights. Keep at it. After all, they are supposed to work for you. No mention of cannabis or any other drug need be made. Just that you believe this bill to be a serious mistake - for the country in general, and him or her in particular.We - the Internet community - succeeded in stopping the Know Your Customer Bill dead in it's tracks. The pols who stupidly mouthed off in support of it got their fingers and their bums burnt royally. We can do it again.The pols whose brains are so ossified that they really don't understand this medium got a nasty shock when the KYC bill went down in flames. They know that they must now adapt to a new way of circumventing the Good 'Ol Boys network of politics - edemocracy. They are afraid of it. And like some lumbering Neanderthal, what they fear they are trying to destroy. Now they are seeking to destroy the most viable means of revitalizing democracy.If we don't speak up, if we let them get away with it, then maybe we don't deserve to be free after all.
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Comment #4 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on January 31, 2000 at 19:06:26 PT:
Better Yet, Run For Rep
Hook up with local Libertarian Party groups, pay the $100, and run for the office of Representative in your state. If you have the nerve, or are hammered enough, you will be given many an opportunity to speak to the public to air your views. Could there be a better mor effective way to defend freedon from S.486? This year will be my third candadicy. 
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Comment #3 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on January 31, 2000 at 19:04:28 PT:
Better Yet, Run For Rep
Hook up with local Libertarian Party groups, pay the $100, and run for the office of Representative in your state. If you have the nerve, or are hammered enough, you will be given many an opportunity to speak to the public to air your views. 
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Comment #2 posted by Dave in Florida on January 31, 2000 at 17:42:04 PT
I agree
The problem I see, Kaptinemo is that there are probably a lot more of us smokers out there than we know of. And they are all paranoid. We are all normal people, but want to stay out of jail. I believe that many people support us, as shown in the anonymous polls. But when you have to sign your real name as opposed to an alias, people tend to be conservative. I, for one, would think that the drug warriors would collect names and harass people that support pot reform. I mean think about it. They take all kinds of moraly unjust actions in the WoSD. If there were a national referendum it would be a cakewalk. I have mentioned taking a more activist role to some friends and have recieved no help. They all seem to want to just continue to go about life and figure the fewer people know we smoke the better. Everyone fears retaliation from our goverment. 
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on January 31, 2000 at 15:39:02 PT
Wake up and smell ... the burning books
It's coming. And if we don't stop it, who will?'It's for your own good.' How many times in your life have you heard that phrase? Sure, when you are children and have no experience with the world and its' myriad dangers, the restrictions of your parents make sense - at least, in retrospect .But when a government makes the statement that 'FYOG' it is going to restrict your right to say what you will, and read what you want, then it's long past time to remind said government that it is a servant, not a master.Tyrannies rarely spring up overnight, and without warning. Hitler told the world what he was going to do in Mein Kampf - published in 1927. And there were people even then who warned of what this wretched little monster would do, given half the chance. The world ignored the warning... and maybe 30 million people died as a result.Here, in the States, we are getting our own wake up call. The Senate wants to destroy our civil liberties. So does the House. But if this wolf-in-sheep's-clothing is killed in the House (by forcibly reminding your Congressperson that if he or she wants to continue to feed at the trough, their vote should be NO!) then we won't have to face the awful, inevitable series of turns of the screw which lead to tyranny.We have made some real, measurable gains here. Two State governors have said publicly what a lot of others wish they had the cojones to say: the DrugWar doesn't work. Media types are remembering their own 'hazy' days and starting to ask the pols (who have themselves sampled the wacky-baccy and are none the worse for their experiences) some hard questions about fairness. This legislative backlash brought about by the DrugWarrior's allies is the latest proof that we are winning. When they try an end run like *this*, they are getting desperate. Time to press our advantage, call your Congressperson and let them know in no unceratin terms that you believe your First Ammendment rights are being infringed, you don't like it one bit, and what are they going to do about it?Because if we don't, who will?
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