COLLEGE PARK, Md. (U-WIRE) — In the omnipresent American drug war, a new threat is looming that will further increase governmental power and eradicate our freedom. The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act, sponsored by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has already unanimously passed in the Senate and awaits its expected approval in the House.
Quoting from Feinstein’s press release, the act, along with the usual draconian measures of more cops, jail time and Drug Enforcement Agency power, “Bans the dissemination of drug ‘recipes’ and other demonstrative information relating to the manufacturing and use of methamphetamine and other controlled substances.”
The bill amends the anti-drug paraphernalia statute to clarify that “advertisements for sale include the use of any communication facility, including the Internet, to post or publicize in any way any matter, including a telephone number or electronic or mail address, knowing that such matter is designed to be used to buy, distribute or otherwise facilitate a transaction in drug paraphernalia.”
In case the full impact of that hasn’t struck you, it effectively takes the First Amendment and stomps repeatedly on it with big, steel-toed Gestapo boots. This includes talking about not only drug production but also reports about safe dosage levels and expected effects. Even writing down a personal experience and sending it to another person could be construed as illegal.
Not only are all illegal drugs covered in the description but even some prescription drugs and the basic chemicals required for production and various drug utensils, despite their other legal uses. Information about using marijuana for medicinal purposes, to the selling of pipes might all be forbidden. Remember Simply Kind’s mistreatment?
Furthermore, the bill uses conspiratorial “intent” to expand its powers. If the information is being published with the “intent” of breaking a federal law, then you are guilty. Not only the initial source of the censored information is guilty but you easily could be as well.
From selling books in your store to creating a hyperlink from your site to one with the outlawed material puts you under the gun as well. How much jail time for exercising your freedom of speech? Up to 10 years.
If you think the government will not abuse this power you should investigate the “forfeiture law.” This law allows the confiscation of drug dealer’s assets, but has turned into a nationwide excuse for cops to raid homes, taking everything in them with no legal proof of any crime, and refusing to return it, until the victims have undertaken expensive legal battles to prove themselves innocent.
Cases of gross police misbehavior have involved stopping motorists, declaring any large sum of cash to be from selling drugs and seizing and keeping it without one charge being filed. Innocent people have even been murdered by the police in these raids.
If this bill seems so against the First Amendment that you think you needn’t worry about it becoming law, you should know that the government passed a similar bill in the wake of the Columbine shooting that made it a felony to disseminate instructions on how to make bombs and other destructive devices.
Perhaps you don’t use drugs or do not care if others are silenced. Perhaps you think the world is so dangerous we need the government controlling not only our actions but our thoughts and communications. But you should remember that sooner or later it is your views and your freedoms that will be affected. I hear they are planning to put cameras on all the streets in Britain. Maybe sooner or later they will be in your homes.
The government’s desire for control of you, your money, your religion, your life and your body has to stop. Know what is happening out there. This is not about protecting you. It is about expanding the government’s futile and highly expensive drug war that has imprisoned a million people for victimless crimes.
It is about keeping the police, prisons and lawyers bankrolled forever with the authority to make the rest of us quake in fear at the thought of them. Admit it — don’t you get paranoid about them even when you are doing nothing wrong? They own you and you know it. Write to somebody. Tell your friends. Don’t just accept everything.
Kenneth Vinciguerra’s column originally appeared in Friday’s University of Maryland paper, The Diamondback.