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U.S.

Department of Justice
Drug Enforcement Administration

www.dea.gov Springfield, VA 22152

AUG 3 t 2018

The Honorable Mark R. Warner


United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Tim Kaine


United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Senator Warner and Senator Kaine:

This responds to your letter dated June 26, 2018, on behalf of your constituent
Ms. Deidre Goldsmith. As you know, we replied to prior inquiries from your offices on behalf
of Ms. Goldsmith on August 16, 2018, and January 17, 2018 . We appreciate the opportunity to
provide additional assistance and we, apologize for our delay in responding to your letter.

As stated in previous correspondence with your offices, the Drug Enforcement


Administration (DEA) shares Ms. Goldsmith's concern that venue owners should not be
discouraged from providing appropriate safety measures at entertainment venues. Our review of
the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, codified at Title 21 U.S.C. § 856, did not identify any
provision of the Act that would discourage law-abiding venue owners from instituting safety
measures for its patrons. The relevant provisions of 21 U.S.C. § 856 provide:

Except as authorized by this subchapter, it shall be unlawful to -

(1) knowingly open, lease, rent, use, or maintain any place, whether permanently or
temporarily, for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using any controlled
substance;

(2) manage or control any place, whether permanently or temporarily, either as an owner,
lessee, agent, employee, occupant, or mortgagee, and knowingly and intentionally
rent, lease, profit from, or make available for use, with or without compensation, the
place for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a
controlled substance.

Section 856 requires that the government prove that an owner knowingly opened or
maintained a place for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing, or using a controlled
substance. A variety of indicators may help to demonstrate that an offender had the requisite
The Honorable Mark R. Warner and The Honorable Tim Kaine Page 2

knowledge. These indicators may include conduct inconsistent with reasonable safety
precautions for the venue. Moreover, dissemination of accurate public health information that
outlines both the illegality and dangers of drug use may discourage prohibited conduct. Every
investigation has its own unique set of facts and circumstances. The knowledge requirement
found in 21 U.S.C. § 856 may be proven by a totality of the circumstances, including overt acts,
or the lack thereof, taken by venue owners.

Again, we recommend that venue owners who have specific questions regarding the
implementation of specific safety measures in relation to 21 U.S.C. § 856 consult the
United States Attorney's Office in their judicial district or seek independent legal guidance.

We hope this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact this office if we may
provide additional assistance regarding this or any other matter.

sl:Q~,
Sean R. Mitchell
Section Chief
Congressional Affairs Section