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The Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act of 1999
What does this bill mean for Erowid?

Although this bill is obviously a horrendous proposition and completely unconstitutional, it is unlikely to affect the information we provide on our site. Erowid will not discontinue any of its information services even if the bill passes. We consider this bill a misguided and unethical attempt to solve a problem by trying to enforce ignorance and mis-information. We have adequate and appropriate legal counsel and will vigorously defend our right to provide reliable and accurate information. While we try to avoid preaching to our visitors, the issue of censorship is something we will take a stand against.

An important requirement of the bill as it is currently worded is that individuals distributing information must have either the 'intent' or the 'knowledge' that the information will be used in the commission of a federal crime. We have no such knowledge or intent. Our library consists of factual information about the modern and historical use of psychoactives. There are many reasons and many types of people who are interested in specific information about psychoactives and manufacturing processes: researchers, educators, licensed chemists, police, medical professionals, people in countries where laws are different, concerned friends and family, and people who simply choose to know all they can about the substances being used in their communities.

The bill doesn't specifically target methamphetamine manufacture, but is so broad that it might include anthropological information on how the yanamamo tribe of South America gathers and prepares their DMT snuffs. The law describes the deciding factor as 'intent' which will in effect be judged by police, DEA, or other government agencies. It is of little comfort to know that if you can prove you did not intend the information to be used for a crime you will eventually be acquitted by a jury . Because of this prosecutorial whim, it seems pointless for us to attempt to guess what information the government will decide they don't like and which information is OK.

Taking down our chemistry information would not limit anyone's access to the information the bill claims to be targetting: how to make methamphetamine. The genie is out of the bottle, the information is everywhere. Every college library contains the information. Any undergraduate chemistry student could tell you how its done.

We may consider installing pages around our chemistry archives which require visitors to agree not to use the information in committing a crime. As everyone knows, this type of 'control' never stops anyone intent upon committing a crime; It is the very essence of useless fencing. Only those with no intention of breaking a law would ever be stopped by such a warning. However, as there are many legitimate uses for the information we provide, and as we do not intend that our information be used to break federal laws, a system such as this could protect us from accusations to the contrary.

Anyway, for the record, Erowid will not shut down, nor will it remove factual chemistry information even if this bill passes. In a worst case scenario, we could choose to move to a server outside the U.S., but it seems quite unlikely this would be necessary.