Possession of ecstasy and the legal obstacles

In recent years, marijuana has been the drug at the center of the public psyche, but ecstasy has long been known for its connection to serious legal penalties. Similar to most states, California law enforces various penalties for this popular recreational drug — but not all of these penalties result in damaged permanent records and reputations.

Also known as MDMA (an abbreviation of its scientific name), ecstasy is a drug commonly found within the rave scene. The Mercury News reported on an ecstasy-related case from 2015, in which Oakland law enforcement became involved at the scene of a local warehouse that had been converted into artist collective. According to the Mercury, a body camera used by the police involved proved that the officer was aware of the illegal party at the warehouse, formerly called the Ghost Ship. Most of the public associates the Ghost Ship with the devastating fire that took place at the warehouse in 2016, but underlying this event was the wide accessibility of ecstasy and marijuana within the community. This incident could point toward a larger, underlying network of the drug among groups outside of the partygoer scene.

The Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics provides informative resources on ecstasy and the legal consequences. While the penalties may seem severe, the CCLE points out that it is rare for judges to actually impose sentences of up to one year. For a case to reach Diversion, it must meet specific criteria, including no prior conviction involving controlled substances, incompletion of probation or parole and no prior felony conviction. The CCLE also notes that, although the possession of ecstasy can come with serious consequences, it is not an explicitly scheduled substance in California.

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