The Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy, or RAVE Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate over the summer, would provide stiffer penalties to promoters who knowingly allow drugs to be bought and sold at their events.
Introduced by Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the act was written to make it easier for the prosecutors to go after rave promoters who host events and business owners who own venues where drugs such as ecstasy are made available. The legislation was reported to the full Senate in late June but has not seen action since.
Critics of the act contend that if passed, it would force the rave culture further underground and may violate First Amendment freedoms by discouraging promoters from sponsoring activities where people can freely express themselves in music and dance.
This act could put the burden of responsibility for attendee and patron actions on the promoters and business owners, which might promote improved safety and security measures at raves, clubs and other venues.
It is clear that people who attend these events to use drugs may not have their own personal safety in mind, so it is up to the promoter or business owner to ensure that they are in an environment that discourages this type of behavior. This act provides the financial incentives necessary to make sure promoters and business owners keep their customers’ best interests in mind.
Not only could promoters and business owners face thousands of dollars in fines if convicted, they could also be liable for civil penalties.
But this act, as it is currently written, may go too far and may be difficult to prove. The definition of what constitutes a rave or other event may be too expansive, and it may be very difficult for prosecutors to prove that a promoter or business owner “knowingly” allowed drugs to be bought or sold on their premises or at their events.
If these two items could be better defined the act might better serve its intended purpose.