News & Features » News

Party now, prison later

by

comment

Concert promoters and club owners: Be very afraid. Your business is in danger thanks to a rider three U.S. senators tacked onto the federal Amber Alert bill, which became law April 10.

According to the bill, club owners and concert promoters can be fined or imprisoned if an audience member is found to be using drugs. It doesn't matter whether the promoter knows of the drug activity or even if he tries to prevent it. In fact, Congress first became alarmed about rave drug activity after a New Orleans club promoter, Donnie Estopinal, successfully fought his arrest under the federal crack-house statute.

"There's a lot of bad law made on sensational cases," says William McColl, director of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Institute, a nonprofit organization working to promote new drug policies.

Nobody knows what might happen. "We don't know what kind of prosecutions we will get," McColl says.

It remains questionable whether overworked federal prosecutors will make time to investigate drug possession in clubs. Then again, the feds weren't too lenient on Estopinal, who assisted agents before he was arrested. "He wasn't doing drugs," McColl says. "He wasn't dealing drugs. He wasn't allowing drugs in his clubs. He was helping the DEA investigate drug dealers in his club."


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.