(TMU) — Although the laws on the books are only rarely and selectively enforced, it is technically federally illegal to host a rave, thanks to Joe Biden.
Anyone involved with hosting a rave can be held legally and criminally responsible for anything illegal that takes place inside the party, thanks to a piece of legislation called the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy—or RAVE—Act. The bill was a pet project of then-Senator Joe Biden, and it became law in 2003, as rave culture was beginning to go mainstream in the US. The bill was extremely unpopular and was struck down the first two times it was up for vote.
Eventually, proponents of the bill changed its name to the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act—and they attached it to the Amber Alert Bill, an entirely unrelated piece of legislation that proposed the establishment of a warning system for missing children. The law effectively put raves in the same legal category as crack houses, and classified things like glowsticks or pacifiers as paraphernalia, which could allow cops to make arrests even if no drugs were found.
During a 2001 hearing about the RAVE Act, Biden openly admitted that they were “finding a rationale other than drugs” to prosecute rave promoters. Biden explained:
“If I were governor of my state or the mayor of my town, I would be passing new ordinances relating to stiff criminal penalties for anyone who holds a rave, the promoter, the guy who owns the building, I would put the son of a gun in jail, I would change the law… There’s no doubt about where these raves take place, in the middle of the desert. Arrest the promoter, and find a rationale unrelated to drugs. For example, I’m the guy who authored the crack-house legislation. We can use the crack-house legislation to tear down these buildings.
I know of no other drug I’ve been exposed to studying that has such a profile in the circumstances under which it’s consumed as this drug… So I think we better send out a message to the local officials that if you are able to eliminate the circumstances and the places under which raves took place and/or policed those which on their face are legitimate, you would cut into this in an incredible way.”
Nearly 20 years later, as Biden campaigns for president, the very same psychedelic drugs that made raves a target for law enforcement are now being legalized in some jurisdictions across the United States.
Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]