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Bill Pryor, Attorney General
Alabama State House
11 South Union Street
Re: SB305 and existing law.
Dear Mr. Pryor,
The enclosed letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in reponse to your letter to the committee of March 9th details extensive problems with your position on GHB. The most serious one is the likelihood that you, personally, are technically committing GHB-related felony crimes on a routine basis.
GHB is found in beef. If you eat beef, you are committing a felony crime.
If you do not believe me, call Dr. Randall Baselt of the Chemical Toxicology Institute (Foster City, California) at 650-650-573-6222 (fax: 650-573-6698) and inquire on your own. CTI does forensic GHB testing for law enforcement agencies in California. Why not have your own forensic people test a variety of meats? It only takes two grams of meat (a half teaspoon) to test positive for GHB.
If you eat corn, you are also committing a GHB-related felony. Corn contains GHB, too.
Analogs of GHB are ubiquitous in foods. As I stated in my letter to the Judiciary Committee, it is my considered opinion that there is no whole food that is free of GHB analogs. None.
What foods can citizens of Alabama eat legally? Refined carbohydrates (crystalized sugar). Water. Table salt. Maybe some fruits. But definitely no meats, beans, grains, milk, cheese or eggs. These foods definitely contain a plethora of GHB analogs.
Based on these facts, I predict that you will be unable to sustain a conviction of any person for any GHB-related offense provided that the defense counsel brings up these issues during the trial. With the current publicity, this is now very likely. A jury will have no sympathy for you after they find out that you (and they) are breaking the same law as the defendant. If you do manage to obtain an initial conviction, it will be reversed on appeal. Selective enforcement of a law is a violation of Constitutional law.
To make GHB constitutionally illegal, you must change the law.
The people from whom you are getting your facts are lying to you. I do not know if you really want to do something about that, or not, but you are free to make official inquiries to ascertain the basis of those misrepresentations. I do not know how familiar you are with the concept of the big lie, but when all individuals in a community are lied to on a continuous basis, it is not difficult to understand how they can become victims of deception.
At this time, your attachment to GHB being a killer, date-rape, designer drug may be strong. Maybe it is not, but I would presume that it is. I ask you to step back and reassess. Your duty and ego may be in conflict, but I ask you, If you had known then what you know now, would you have advocated GHB criminalization by Schedule-I status? GHB is a naturally occurring carbohydrate nutrient that is present in our foods, our bodies and our brains. It is absolutely essential to our function as human beings. GHB has a safety index of between 40:1 and 100:1, which is far better than over-the-counter Tylenol (10:1) and alcohol (10:1). If GHB was designed by anybody, it would have to be God.
In terms of scientific and medical research, we have from many hundreds to a few thousand papers on GHB that document, with certainty, that GHB is safe and effective for at least a dozen important clinical uses. GHB (sodium oxybate) is going to be approved by the FDA in 2001, regardless of your opinion about it, and regardless of Alabamas Schedule I status. When the FDA approves GHB, you will be asked to recommend that the Alabama legislature lower GHB to Schedule III, IV or V.
Most of the material that you are dealing with on the streets is not GHB. It is either gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) or 1,4-butanediol (BD). The amount of research on these GHB alternatives is tiny by comparison to GHB. Yet the FDAs anti-GHB campaign, and the resulting criminalizations of GHB, have driven citizens to use these less well researched and possibly more dangerous substances. The problem with these substances is that they are plentiful. Millions of pounds of both are produced each year, and they are used to make polyurethane (Spandex) and polyester clothing, rope and string, stronger-than-steel plastic automotive and machine parts, bullet-proof vests, high-performance reinforced automotive tires, blood-plasma extenders, premium skin-care lotions, cosmetics, medical products, exterior and marine paints, solar greenhouse panels, water bottles, and thousands of other products too numerous to mention. Because these polymers contain unreacted monomer, they are also technically illegal to possess or sell within Alabama. In California, the polymers themselves are Schedule-II substances.
The controlled-substances acts are intended only for botanical substances and designer drugs. Such compounds have complex molecular structures that are quite different from the natural chemicals that a citizen is likely to encounter in real life. These structures are unusual enough that analogs (structurally similar molecules) are also highly unlikely to be encountered by accident. Such is not the case with GHB. GHB is a simple carbohydrate, whose molecular structure is composed of only 15 atoms, all of which are carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (the basic elements of carbohydrates). Analogs of GHB are everywhere! They are so common that a citizen cannot avoid them. They are so common that no policeman, judge, lawyer or legislator can avoid them. It is impossible.
You are the person most responsible for this law. You recommended it. You convinced the legislature to pass it. You have the responsibility to enforce it. And now that you know what is really going on, you have a new choice to make: 1) enforce it fully (i.e., prosecute yourself and everybody else for felony possession of GHB-containing foods), 2) enforce it selectively (prosecute some, and not others, for the same crime), and 3) enforce it not at all. Option 1 is illegal for logistical, humanitarian and Constitutional reasons. Option 2 is illegal by the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Only option 3 is left.
It would not be difficult to fix the GHB law. Do you want to? Or not.
Steven Wm. Fowkes
cc: Ward Dean, M.D.