2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: May 25, 2000
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
E-Mail: 76214.3676@Compuserve.com
Warning: This press release could be illegal under new anti-drug legislation

WASHINGTON, DC -- Politicians are so desperate to win the War on Drugs that they're willing to outlaw this press release, the Libertarian Party said today.

"Warning: This press release contains illegal information," said the party's National Director Steve Dasbach. "You could be prosecuted -- and sentenced to a 10-year prison term -- for reading it on the air, publishing it in a newspaper, or linking it to your website."

The reason? Congress appears poised to pass legislation that would make it a crime to publicize information about illegal drugs. The bill, HR. 2987, would make it a federal felony to advertise, link a website to, or even publish certain kinds of factual data about drugs, drug culture, or drug paraphernalia.

"The War on Drugs has been turned into a War on Words," said Dasbach. "This bill would make certain kinds of Constitutionally protected speech illegal, and give politicians the power to put Americans in prison for writing, posting, or advocating information the government doesn't like."

The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act (ed: See also, Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act), sponsored by senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) -- passed the Senate unanimously last November. It is now being considered by two House committees.

Supporters say the bill is designed to fight so-called "meth labs," which produce a dangerous form of amphetamine.

But the bill would go far beyond that, said Dasbach -- and would create several new "communication crimes," including:

  • Illegal linking (three years in prison): It would be illegal for any "communications facility to post, publicize, transmit, publish, link to, broadcast or otherwise advertise" -- or even provide "indirect advertising for" -- Internet sites that sell drug paraphernalia.

  • "For example, this press release would be illegal if we mention that www.bongs.com has information about buying marijuana pipes," said Dasbach. "It could even be illegal if we provided this information so you could prevent your children from visiting that site."

  • Illegal teaching (10 years in prison). It would be illegal to tell someone how to produce an illegal drug, such as growing marijuana.

  • "It would be a felony to mention that you can purchase a book about growing marijuana at www.marijuana-hemp.com," said Dasbach. "It could even be a felony if you intended to grow marijuana in a state where medical marijuana is legal, and you planned to grow it for bona fide medical reasons."

    The bill is a dangerous expansion of government power, said Dasbach, because although politicians now have the power to outlaw certain activities, the First Amendment prohibits them from outlawing speech about those illegal activities.

    "Politicians have already made possession of drugs a crime -- now they want to make possession of press releases, books, newspapers, magazines, and websites about drugs a crime," he said. "If this bill passes, the War on Drugs will have escalated into a full fledged War on the First Amendment."

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