Any regular reader will know I'm not a fan of the "War on Drugs" which is mainly due to the US's policies on the matter. One of my main objections to it is that it can often lead to criminal records for people who've done nothing that has harmed another person or society (there may have been harm further down the supply chain, however this is also specifically due to the "War on Drugs"). It is therefore possible that a teenager's life could be ruined just because they want to impress people and happen to get caught carrying a couple of ecstasy tablets.
The US want to take this one step further. Now they are looking to prosecute people who don't even engage in illegal activity, but just plan to do something (anywhere in the world) which is illegal in the United States whilst in the country - irrespective of the legality of the action in the country(s) where the act would take place.
You can read more about this here. The article makes the absurd example of organising a wedding in Amsterdam:
"Under this bill, if a young couple plans a wedding in Amsterdam, and as part of the wedding, they plan to buy the bridal party some marijuana, they would be subject to prosecution," (Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance)
Under the Amsterdam wedding scenario, anyone who participated in the planning of the wedding with knowledge of the planned pot purchase would be guilty of conspiracy, even if their particular role was limited to buying flowers or booking the hotel.
The way I read the story I'd say it's even worse than that, just say two people booking to go away somewhere discussing the possibility that they may undertake in legal activities could be prosecuted - it doesn't even seem like they have to commit the activity.
I am not completely against the purpose of the bill:
"The law is a reaction to a 2007 case in which the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals threw out the convictions of two men who planned the transfer of cocaine from a Colombian drug cartel to a Saudi prince for distribution in Europe. Though the men planned the transaction from Miami, the court found that because the cocaine never reached the U.S. and was never intended to reach the U.S., the men hadn't committed any crime against the United States."
Given the fact that the US consider drug trafficking an offence then their reaction to not being able to prosecute people committing what they consider a crime is completely understandable - however planning to prosecute people for just planning what will be legal activities is just another example of the US trying to impose it's laws across the globe. Sometimes they are for the benefit of people and an attempt to improve people's rights and lives but this does not, it creates victims, opens up black markets and leads to vulnerable people being exploited and finding it harder to get help.
The US has some very noble aims, however their drugs policy is completely ridiculous, in my opinion causes more harm than good and is completely hypocritical - in California, thanks to Proposition 215, it is legal for people who would benefit from medical marijuana to cultivate the crop. Yet this article implies that someone (lets assume in a state other than California) advising a person how to cultivate cannabis would be breaking the law - would this be the case if they were advising a Californian? I doubt it.