Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act

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The Reducing Americans' Vulnerability to Ecstasy Act, commonly known as the RAVE Act, was a bill proposed in the United States Senate during the 107th Congress. A substantially similar law, the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act was passed during the 108th Congress on April 30, 2003.

Legislative history[edit]

The bill was sponsored by Senator Joseph Biden, along with cosponsors Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Joseph Lieberman, Strom Thurmond, Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin.[1] The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on June 18, 2002. June 27, 2002 it was reported out of the committee without written comment or amendment and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. On October 10, 2002, Senator Biden provided introductory remarks on the bill before the Senate.

This bill was introduced to the Senate again on January 7, 2003 by Senator Thomas Daschle[SD] with co-sponsors; Senator Joseph Biden Jr. [D-DE], Senator Hillary Clinton [D-NY,] Senator Jon Corzine [D-NJ], Senator Mark Dayton [D-MN] Senator Richard Durbin [D-IL], Senator Edward Kennedy [D-MA], Senator Patrick Leahy [D-VT], Senator Patty Murray [D-WA], Senator Jack Reed [D-RI], Senator Charles Schumer [D-NY]. This bill also failed to pass. [1]

On Thursday (April 10, 2003) the Senate and House passed [2] the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (formerly known as the RAVE Act) as an attachment to the child abduction-related AMBER Alert Bill. The language of the original act was changed slightly before the bill was passed without public hearing, debate or a vote.[citation needed]


The stated purpose of the Act was: "A bill to prohibit an individual from knowingly opening, maintaining, managing, controlling, renting, leasing, making available for use, or profiting from any place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled substance, and for other purpose."[2]

Substantive law changes of the Act[edit]

The Act would have modified section 416(a) of the Controlled Substances Act (also known as the "crackhouse law" and codified at United States Code, 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)) to expand the section regarding "Establishment of manufacturing operations", which previously outlawed maintaining, managing or owning any place used to manufacture, distribute or use drugs to include temporary or permanent uses of the premises.[2]

The Act also would have created a civil penalty of $250,000 or "2 times the gross receipts, either known or estimated, that were derived from each violation that is attributable to the person.", whichever was greater.[2] Additionally, the Act recommended that the United States Sentencing Commission reconsider the then-current Federal sentencing guidelines with respect to offenses involving Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, commonly known as a date rape drug.[2]

Public commentary on the Act[edit]

Most of the public commentary regarding the RAVE Act centered on the prologue section of the bill titled "Findings."[3] Such sections do not create new substantive law but serve as guidance to the judiciary in interpreting the law and the executive in enforcing the law. Among the items listed in the "Findings" section include statements regarding rave promoters providing "chill rooms" and bottled water for large fees, where participants can go and cool down from the body-temperature-raising effects of ecstasy; and selling "neon glow sticks; massage oils; menthol nasal inhalers; and pacifiers that are used to combat the involuntary teeth clenching associated with ecstasy."[2]

Specifically, many were concerned that these expansive definitions might permit the police to arrest and charge concert promoters under this law so long as glow sticks and bottled water were present.[4] Congress was also accused of picking an easy, public target so as to continue support for the War on Drugs.[3] Others were concerned that too much responsibility would be placed on concert promoters to police their patrons.[5] Also, many were concerned that their First Amendment right to freedom of assembly would be violated were the law enacted.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick Leahy and Richard Durbin withdrew their sponsorship of the bill in September 2002.
  2. ^ a b c d e See text of statute.
  3. ^ a b "Raving Lunacy". Fox News. July 25, 2002.
  4. ^ "RAVE Act: RIP Live Electronic Music",, July 7, 2002
  5. ^ "Chemical Warfare: The RAVE Act", AlterNet, October 8, 2002
  6. ^