House Subcommittee Passes Bill to End Crack-Powder Cocaine Disparity

Great news out of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security today. It unanimously passed the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009, a bill that eliminates the disparity between federal crack and powder cocaine sentences -- and removes the 5 year mandatory minimum for simple possession.

The bill is H.R. 3245, sponsored by Representative Robert Scott (D-VA). This bill goes about eliminating the disparity the best way. It simply removes references to “cocaine base” from the U.S. federal code and removes the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine.

This is way better than some of the other bills which would change the penalty but add new crimes and throw more money into the War on Drugs.

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    Great News (5.00 / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 06:14:21 PM EST
    Apart from the overt racism, I could never understand how they could get away with two distinct penalties for the same exact drug.

    It would be like 100 times different penalty for eating Alice b Toklas brownies as opposed to smoking a doobie.

    Nice to see that there is some sense in the house.

    Great news, but.... (none / 0) (#2)
    by BeAware on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 08:51:51 PM EST
    What took them so long? The outrages sentencing differences for the two forms of the drug have been public knowledge for a very long time. It makes you wonder if they are doing it just because people have stopped ignoring it, or if they are really trying to do the morally right thing. Very few of the decisions that politicians make are because of moral convictions, and only doing the right thing when votes are on the line is unacceptable in this the beginning of the new age of unity and universal acceptance. Yes people are waking up but we still have a very long way to go.

    question (none / 0) (#3)
    by womanwarrior on Wed Jul 22, 2009 at 11:41:15 PM EST
    Retroactivity?  Does anyone know if it will help our clients who are in for long sentences, if it passes?  Thanks.

    The bill that originated with Biden (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 23, 2009 at 12:26:24 PM EST
    and has been reintroduced by someone else (that I don't like) specified no retroactivity. I believe the others, including this one, are silent on retroactivity. Here's an analysis of the pending bills.