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DPS Warns of Raver Madness

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 www.wamm.org.

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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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Weed Watch, Drug Policy Alliance, WAMM, Istook Amendment, DPS, rave, drug policy, drug reform, medical marijuana

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