Amendment: The subdivision captioned "LSD, PCP, and Other Schedule I and II Hallucinogens (and their immediate precursors)*" of the Drug Equivalency Tables of Note 10 of the Commentary to §2D1.1 captioned "Application Notes", effective May 1, 2001 (see Amendment 609), is repromulgated without change.

Reason for Amendment: This amendment repromulgates (as a permanent amendment) without change the emergency amendment previously promulgated that addressed the directive in section 3664 of the Ecstasy Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106–310 (the "Act"). (See Amendment 609). That directive instructs the Commission to provide increased penalties for the manufacture, importation, exportation, or trafficking of "Ecstasy". The directive specifically requires the Commission to increase the base offense level for 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), 3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-ethylamphetamine (MDEA), Paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMA), and any other controlled substance that is marketed as "Ecstasy" and that has either a chemical structure similar to MDMA or an effect on the central nervous system substantially similar to or greater than MDMA.

The amendment addresses the directive by amending the Drug Equivalency Tables in §2D1.1, Application Note 10, to increase substantially the marihuana equivalencies for the specified controlled substances, which has the effect of substantially increasing the penalties for offenses involving "Ecstasy". The new penalties for "Ecstasy" trafficking provide penalties which, gram for gram, are more severe than those for powder cocaine. Under the Drug Equivalency Tables, one gram of powder cocaine has a marihuana equivalency of 200 grams. This amendment sets the marihuana equivalency for one gram of "Ecstasy" at 500 grams.

There is a combination of reasons why the Commission has substantially increased the penalties in response to the congressional directive. Much evidence received by the Commission indicated that "Ecstasy" (1) has powerful pharmacological effects; (2) has the capacity to cause lasting physical harms, including brain damage; and (3) is being abused by rapidly increasing numbers of teenagers and young adults. Indeed, the market for "Ecstasy" is overwhelmingly comprised of persons under the age of 25 years.

The Commission considered whether the penalty levels for "Ecstasy" should be set at the same levels as for heroin (one gram of heroin has a marihuana equivalency of 1000 grams) and decided that somewhat lesser penalties were appropriate for "Ecstasy" for a number of reasons: (1) the potential for addiction is greater with heroin; (2) heroin distribution often involves violence while, at this time, violence is not reported in "Ecstasy" markets; (3) because heroin it is a narcotic and is often injected, the risk of death from overdose is much greater than for "Ecstasy"; and (4) because heroin is often injected, there are more secondary health consequences, such as infections and the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis than for "Ecstasy".

Finally, based on information regarding "Ecstasy" trafficking patterns, the penalty levels chosen are appropriate and sufficient to target serious and high-level traffickers and to provide appropriate punishment, deterrence, and incentives for cooperation. The penalty levels chosen for "Ecstasy" offenses provide five year sentences for serious traffickers (those whose relevant conduct involved approximately 800 pills) and ten year sentences for high-level traffickers (those whose relevant conduct involved approximately 8,000 pills).

Effective Date: The effective date of this amendment is November 1, 2001.