To answer your first question, just about every "multiply fed" offers a drug tested division. The APF has the AAPF, the APA has a drug tested division, the IPA has the amateur division. I am not sure about SPF and some of the other feds, but in your area, I think you could probably find an APF meet and enter as an AAPF competitor.
Canvas suits generally have more "stopping power" than the poly suits (such as the Pro Squatter). Canvas is much harder to size and if it is too tight in the legs you could have some real problems getting down with any weight. It is also a bitch to get off. It is extremely important to make sure you get all gear seated properly and pulled up your leg all the way. If you dont the briefs and or suit can have a tendency to push your knees in. If I were to go with canvas, I would get an Inzer Leviathan, hands down.
As an intro to gear I would go with Metal Pro Briefs first and then add a Metal Pro Squatter. You could also do what I did which is get an Ace squatter that is a size too big. Lastly, there's no way in hell that I would squat in a canvas suit and briefs in your basement without a bolted down full power rack, monolift hooks and Spud Straps for additional safety. Find a crew to train with once or twice a week. Check out powerliftingwatch.com for gyms and you can also post on a couple of other forums and look for crews / training partners / basement gyms, etc. I can PM you the details of where to go if you would like to keep the names of those forums out of the context of this thread.
Raw Elite Total at 308