University of Miami Business Law Review

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The normalcy of “club drug” use in today’s live music culture makes concert promoters and venue managers particularly vulnerable to prosecution under the “crack-house statute,” 21 U.S.C. § 856. Section 856(a)(2) makes it illegal for a promoter or venue manager to “manage any place . . . and knowingly and intentionally . . . profit from, or make available for use . . . the place for the purpose of unlawfully manufacturing, storing, distributing, or using a controlled substance.” In United States v. Tebeau, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals held that third parties could satisfy the statute’s “intent” requirement. This Note examines the Eighth Circuit’s interpretation and the uncertainty that it has created, which may lead to a situation where any promoter involved in any event where illegal drugs are consumed can be held liable under Section 856. This Note calls for an amendment to the statute, better designed (1) to curb dangerous club drug use, (2) to provide health and safety measures for patrons, and (3) to punish, specifically, rogue concert promoters who facilitate such dangerous situations, so that the many positive economic effects of the live music sector may continue to flourish.