PMA and PMMA: Legal consequences

Last modified: Saturday, 20. June 2009 - 2:56 pm

All of the club drugs including PMA and ecstasy have been scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. PMA has been listed as a Schedule I drug since 1973. Ecstasy has been listed as a Schedule I drug since 1988. Schedule I Controlled Substances are defined as having a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. However, PMA is produced legally in the United States for limited commercial applications and a small quantity is allocated for Schedule I drug research.

Federal guidelines, regulations, and penalties

PMA is considered an ecstasy-like substance and is regulated under the Ecstasy Anti-Proliferation Act of
2000. The act increased the federal sentencing guidelines for the manufacture, import, export, and trafficking of ecstasy and ecstasy-like substances. This act placed the severity of the penalties for ecstasy and PMA use to greater than that for powder cocaine. It lengthens federal sentences for trafficking 800 pills (approximately 200 g) of ecstasy or PMA from 15 months to five years, an increase of 300%. The act increases the penalization for trafficking 8,000 pills by nearly 200%, from 41 months to 10 years. These extensions were constructed in response to a skyrocketing increase in ecstasy abuse and trafficking compared with previous years.
The ecstasy epidemic, its potential for causing permanent brain damage, and the deaths associated with ecstasy usage led to the passage of the Ecstasy Prevention Act of 2001. The Ecstasy Prevention Act of 2001 built on the Ecstasy Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000 by allotting funding for the education of law enforcement officials and the public, and for medical research done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In
2001, the average sentence for ecstasy-related crimes rose from 25 months to 60 months. The number of pills triggering a five-year sentence decreased from 11,428 pills to 800 pills.
According to the NCJRS, many communities and law enforcement agencies are forming new anti-rave ordinances to try to decrease the use of club drugs. They are appointing juvenile curfews, ordaining licensing requirements for large public gatherings, and exacting compliance to existing fire codes and laws relating to health, safety, and alcohol use. Another enactment that has impacted ecstasy and PMA substance abuse is the Drug Induced Rape Prevention Act of 1996. Although ecstasy usually is not associated with violent crimes, it has been mentioned by law enforcement agencies as connected to drug-induced rape in certain areas of the country. The purpose of the Drug Induced Rape Prevention Act of 1996 is to confront drug-facilitated crimes of violence, including sexual assaults. The act creates penalties specifically for the use of controlled substances such as ecstasy or PMA with the intent to commit a violent crime.

International penalties

In the United Kingdom, PMA is classified as a Class A Controlled Substance, the most dangerous class of drugs. Offenses involving drugs from Class A obtain the highest penalties. Unlawful possession of Class A drugs under summary conviction can be penalized with up to a six-month prison sentence and a 5,000-pound ($7,350) fine. On indictment the penalty may reach a seven-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine. Class A drug trafficking upon indictment carries a maximum penalty of a lifetime prison sentence. The Powers of Criminal Courts Act of 2000 created a minimum prison sentence of seven years for a third-time offense in the trafficking of Class A drugs such as ecstasy or PMA.
In Canada, there is no accepted medical use for PMA, and it is classified by the Food and Drugs Act as a restricted material. Illicit possession of this drug for a first-time offender carries a penalty of $1,000 in fines and up to a six-month prison sentence. Succeeding offenses are given double the fine and sentence. Conviction by indictment can secure a fine of $5,000 and a three-year prison sentence. PMA drug trafficking and possession of PMA for trafficking purposes may confer a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
Germany is one of the world’s largest suppliers of club drugs. Under the German Narcotics Act of 1981, PMA is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, the most dangerous category of classification. Schedule I drugs in Germany are defined as illicit narcotics without medical benefit. Under German law, the type and classification of the narcotic in question does not influence the penalty for possession of the drug. Drug offenses involving PMA may elicit a penalty anywhere from a fine only to a 15-year prison sentence.

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