Congress Reduces Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity

More big drug policy news from Congress in this last week before the recess: The House has at long last passed legislation, already adopted by the Senate, which will reduce crack cocaine sentences by reducing the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. S 1789 will also repeal the much-condemned five-year mandatory sentence for simple possession of crack.  It heads now to the president's desk -- AP story here.

While the bill does not do nearly everything reformers would like, it is more than a good start. To put the issue in perspective, groups had already been organizing on this issue for a number of years before I got involved in the movement in 1993. It's amazing how much time it takes to get even the most clear cases of racism and injustice addressed (the racism in this case coming in how the law was implemented, rather than the text of it.)

With medical marijuana cleared now in DC, and the Webb criminal justice commission bill moving forward by passing the House (unanimous consent!), it has been a big week for drug policy reform, and a good one, here in Washington.

Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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