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More Grateful Dead Fans Behind Bars With Tripling of DEA's LSD Task Force


March 1993

A tripling of the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA's) LSD task force in personnel and expenditures has resulted in a similar increase in LSD arrests, and the trend is focusing for the most part on itinerant fans of the Grateful Dead (Burr Snider, "Jailhouse Rock: Deadhead Hedonism Meets New Age of Law Enforcement," San Francisco Examiner, 2/7/93, D1).

Close to 2,000 Deadheads, are serving long prison terms on various LSD charges. Four years ago, there were fewer than 100 people in jail nationwide on LSD charges. Gene Haislip, DEA's LSD enforcement chief, is proud of the agency's record, and told the Examiner that "we're going to mine this until this whole thing turns around."

As various items abstracted in NewsBriefs have noted before, federal drug laws have resulted in excessively harsh sentences for LSD offenses, since the mandatory minimum sentencing law, passed in 1986, includes the weight of carrier materials in the weight that triggers a minimum sentence. Hence, 100 doses of pure LSD, brings a prison term of 10 months, while the same amount sprayed on sugar cubes brings a 16-year prison term.