Congress Considering New Mandatory Miniumum Bill

On September 23, the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, was scheduled to consider a new bill that would add mandatory minimum sentences to many non-violent drug offenses. Here are two:

Anyone convicted in federal court of the crime of "enticing" someone "who has previously been enrolled in a drug treatment program" to "possess"
marijuana (by passing a joint, for instance) will receive a five-year mandatory minimum sentence.

A first time offender who is convicted of distributing a small amount of marijuana to a
person under 21 years of age will get a five-year mandatory minimum sentence... and a 10-year sentence if the marijuana is distributed to a person under 18.

The bill is the "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act" (H.R. 4547), introduced in June of this year by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI.)

Trying to instill some measure of sanity into the system, on September 15, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced the "Justice in Sentencing Act of 2004" (H.R. 5103). Her bill would repeal many of the current federal mandatory minimums related to drug offenses.

TalkLeft, like the Marijuana Policy Project,:

...does not condone the distribution of marijuana to minors, nor do we advocate the use of marijuana by people recovering from substance abuse problems. But we do believe that judges should have the discretion to determine whether offenders in these circumstances deserve such harsh punishment. If mandatory minimum sentences remain in effect, judges' hands are tied.

If you agree that Congress should repeal current mandatory minimums and oppose any new mandatory minimum sentences, please visit here to e-mail to your U.S. representative today. The whole process takes only a minute.

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