Tag: crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity

Senate Passes Bill Reducing, Not Eliminating Crack Cocaine Penalties

The Senate today passed a bill reducing but not eliminating the disparate 100:1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine penalties. The bill also includes enhanced penalties for some drug offenders -- such as for those who distribute to a person over 64 years of age.

This sucks. It takes 500 grams of powder to trigger a 5 year mandatory minimum penalty. Under current law, it takes 5 grams of crack. Now, 28 grams of crack will do the trick. So an ounce of crack will carry the same penalty as almost a pound of powder (500 grams is 1/2 kilo, a kilo is 2.2 pounds.) And 280 grams of crack (10 ounces) will trigger the 10 year mandatory minimum penalty while 5 kilos of powder are required.

Worst of all, the bill is not retroactive and the reduction won't help anyone who has already been sentenced.[More...]

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