“’Cuff Drug Users, Not Innocent Bystanders”

Albuquerque Journal
May 31, 2004

No Isotopes fan would ever light up a marijuana cigarette at the stadium, of course. But suppose one did, was arrested and hauled away. Should this violation trigger the arrest of the ’Topes’ starting lineup?

No; they are not responsible for the fan’s behavior. That’s clear when you’re talking baseball, but if the venue is a little more rock ’n’ roll than apple pie and the national pastime, hysteria clouds the issue.

New Mexico Reps. Tom Udall, a Democrat, and Republican Heather Wilson are among 124 co-sponsors of a bill that crosses over the line to absurdity. Under what Wilson charitably calls a loosely worded provision, fans’ use of drugs could result in the jailing of the band, souvenir hawkers and promoters.

Even the Drug Policy Alliance finds the “punish the innocent” clause problematic. But if its lame-duck sponsor, Rep. Doug Ose, R-Calif., hangs it on a popular bill, “... there’s not much we can do about it,” said Bill Piper, an associate director of the anti-drug group.

There is much to recommend other bill provisions – but not enough to justify enactment of this clause. Udall and Wilson should reconsider their support.