House Bill Would Ban Drug Instructions

House Bill Would Ban Drug Instructions
Posted by FoM on May 11, 2000 at 05:11:08 PT
Aims to Censor Information on Making Substances
Free speech advocates say proposed anti-drug legislation that would make it a crime to dispense information on controlled substances could send innocent people to jail and have a chilling effect on First Amendment rights. The bill, known as the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act, is aimed at combating the spread of the powerful stimulant by boosting the number of Drug Enforcement agents investigating methamphetamine cases, providing more training for agents and stiffening the penalties for distribution. 
Related Links: H.R.2987 Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999 (Introduced in the House) The bill also bans the distribution of information relating to the manufacture of controlled substances, which opponents say could open the door for the prosecution of innocent people. "The legislation seeks to shut down a vital source of information about topics like medical marijuana and hemp production by threatening Web sites and book publishers with jail time," said Marv Johnson, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Impossible to Limit? But the bill's sponsors have said cutting off the sources of information and the spread of so-called meth recipes, is one way to combat the meth epidemic. "We've seen situations where traffickers have set up schools to teach meth use," said Ken Ronald of the Drug Enforcement Agency's Office of Congressional and Public Affairs. "We hope it [the bill] will go through and is enforceable. We believe it is a constitutional provision." Johnson argues that information on meth production has been circulating for 75 years and the new law would do little to limit its availability. "It's freely available in the public domain and relatively simple to acquire. Anyone with a library card can get it." Instead, he said, doctors and other health professionals will be forbidden from distributing drug safety information to addicts, and will fear providing information on a wide range of chemicals and scientific devices. Criticized as 'Overbroad' "You don't stop the crime by going after those who provide the information, for instance, how chemistry works or how to cultivate marijuana," said Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Police Foundation. "It will lead to unfair prosecution and ultimately be ineffectual." "You need a Bunsen burner to use meth," said Johnson. "If you teach how to use a Bunsen burner do you violate the law?" Deborah Pierce, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the bill is overbroad, vague and riddled with First Amendment concerns. "I could see this being used and not know what was being prohibited under this law," she said. Committee Vote Pending: "There are clear First Amendment problems because you have to have intent," Johnson said. "Someone who has a Web site advocating the legalization of drugs is clearly protected by the First Amendment, then if you link to a site that talks about medical marijuana that clearly provides intent." "Any time it is illegal to discuss or disseminate information we should be on our guard," said Johnson. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill Monday. A similar bill was passed by the Senate. Amendments Expected: Sources say several House Democrats are drafting amendments to strike the section that would criminalize the distribution of drug information. Opponents say at the very least, they would like to see a better definition of what is allowed. "We would like to see it not prohibit the discussion of educational, religious [or] scientific use of controlled substances," said Johnson. The ACLU and other organizations also are concerned about other provisions in the bill creating new federal drug offenses they say would unfairly target minorities. They say instead of spending billions of dollars incarcerating nonviolent, lower-level offenders, Congress should invest a much smaller amount in drug treatment programs that would be more effective. Amy Worden, Reporter Washington ( e-mail: amy.worden Web Posted: may 10, 2000 ęCopyright 2000 APB Multimedia Related Articles:ACLU Bill Criminalizes Drug Links Drug War Bill Threatening Freedom of Speech
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Comment #4 posted by J Christen-Mitchell on May 12, 2000 at 06:30:47 PT:
Cannabem Liberemus
Oops, that was a link towards the new Saint Louis NORML. Persue it through politics. Here's the correct link to Campaign Liberty...
Put a Pothead in Congress
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Comment #3 posted by j Christen-Mirchell on May 12, 2000 at 06:27:35 PT:
The AntiFreedom Proliferation Act
This bill is the reason I'm running against Dick Gephardt. Support your Libertarian Candidates. Let's Rock The Vote!
Christen-Mitchell For A Libertarian Congress
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on May 11, 2000 at 11:17:26 PT
If it pass
Might as well start burning all the books wrapped with US flags! Might as well stop talking to people lest you get arrest for thinking some dumb thought!
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Comment #1 posted by Dr. Ganj on May 11, 2000 at 10:29:18 PT
Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act
What's next, the Thought Police? I would expect such a desperate attempt from the Chinese government, but from the U.S.? Who gives us the right to enforce the Internet? First of all, it can't be done. All the drug sites will simply switch to Canadian ISP's. Now what? Nothing's changed, has it? You bet. Face it, drugs are part of what makes us different from machines. We want to explore and experience. Ganj is groovy, MDMA beautiful, LSD majestic, Peyote astral, and all the rest of those multi-colored, polysyllabic chemical wonders of organic chemistry. You can't regulate curiosity.Dr. Ganj
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