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Branding Clubs As Crack Houses: the US Tries Again

Author: Jonty Adderley
Saturday, July 13, 2002
American politicians are trying to amend the country's crack house laws in what amounts to a second serious attempt to destroy the country's entire club industry. New legislation proposed by one Senator Bidden this week, "could have a devastating effect on the electronic dance music scene," warned EMDEF (Electronic Music Defence & Education) in their latest newsletter.

According to EMDEF, Senator Bidden's proposal (S2633) aims to outlaw raves and electronic music events entirely by making it easier for prosecutors to use the crack house statute against venue owners, managers, promoters, and others, following last year's acquittal of three New Orleans promoters.

"In 2001 the government attempted to cripple the electronic dance movement by using federal narcotics laws to prosecute promoters, venue managers, and club owners," said EMDEF.

"But the war is not over, the government is just re-grouping and taking a pause to re-write the rules of engagement."

The case could have implications outside the States according to top civil rights lawyer Graham Boyd from the ACLU who successfully defended the innocent New Orleans trio last year.

"I've spent a lot of time in South Africa and I've actually talked to the people who are responsible for making drug policy in that country and I was shocked to learn the way it works," said Mr Boyd, speaking to skrufff last year.

"We have a drug enforcement administration (DEA) office in Johannesburg where we send US government officials to basically lobby the South African government to enact drug policies that are as draconian as our own. It turns out we do that in countries all over the world."

"I find that kind of imperialism absolutely offensive and my fear is that what's happening in New Orleans is something that our Government will trumpet around the world as what other governments should be doing." (Make a donation to EM:DEF [all US donations are tax-deductible])