Pubdate: Fri, 14 May 2004
Source: Austin Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Austin Chronicle Corp.
Author: Jordan Smith


Do your children, friends, or other loved ones own "colorful, beaded
bracelets and necklaces?" Do they use nasal inhalers or have trouble
concentrating? Are they depressed? Do they own a "princess" costume?
If so, your loved one just might be an illegal-drug-taking Raver. "A
pattern of this behavior or ownership of several of these items may
indicate that your child is involved in the rave scene," warns the
Texas Department of Public Safety. But don't panic (at least not yet),
because the DPS on April 28 kicked off a statewide program to put an
end to illegal drug use at "organized rave parties." (Okay, now you
can panic.)

That's right, the DPS Narcotics Service is spearheading an effort to
coordinate cops across the state to "fight against this growing threat
to public safety," according to a DPS press release. The program will
focus on educating the general public about the dangers of "club
drugs" like Ecstasy. Further, the DPS and the Texas Attorney General's
office will combine forces to share rave event intelligence with local
cops "so that they are aware of illegal drug use in their areas."
Raves are dangerous because "promoters have convinced partygoers that
their events are safe," says DPS Director Col. Thomas A. Davis Jr.,
"but the results are sometimes devastating." Although rave promoters
"claim" that security and drug checks are provided, "fire, safety and
health codes are often not enforced, and free water may not be
available." Luckily the DPS is on the case - but don't count on them
for a free glass of agua.

In other drug news, more than 250 members of the Santa Cruz, Calif.
Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana scored a victory April 21 in
federal court in connection with their ongoing legal battle to keep
open their med-mari grow-and-use program. The WAMM, a cooperative
hospice group that grows and supplies marijuana to seriously ill
patients in accordance with California's 1996 Compassionate Use Act,
was shut down after a federal raid in 2002. But late last month U.S.
District Judge Jeremy Fogel granted the WAMM members a preliminary
injunction that allows the cooperative to resume operation while the
lawsuit is pending. "In the face of overzealous federal law
enforcement, for the first time a court has applied the law in a way
that protects the right of a group of sick people to grow and share
their medicine without fear," Drug Policy Alliance Deputy Director of
Legal Affairs Judy Appel said in a press release. For more info on
WAMM and the lawsuit go to

Finally, lawyers for the DPA and other groups were in Washington,
D.C., federal court April 28, arguing that the government has no right
to censor advertisements that advocate drug policy reform. The suit,
pending before Judge Paul L. Friedman, challenges the newly enacted
Istook Amendment (named for its author, U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook,
R-Okla., and attached to a transportation appropriations bill) which
withholds federal dollars from metropolitan transit authorities (like
Capital Metro or, in the case at hand, Washington's Metro) in the
event that they accept ads critical of the government's war on drugs.
The DPA is asking the court to rule the amendment unconstitutional.
"Today, it's the government trying to censor ads that present an
alternative to the failed drug war," DPA Director of National Affairs
Bill Piper said in a press release. "Tomorrow it could be gagging
organizations that are critical of U.S. environmental policy. [It]
isn't just ... drug policy freedom of speech [that] is on the line.
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