H.R.3245 - Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009

To amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act regarding penalties for cocaine offenses, and for other purposes. view all titles (3)

All Bill Titles

  • Official: To amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act regarding penalties for cocaine offenses, and for other purposes. as introduced.
  • Short: Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009 as introduced.
  • Short: Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009 as reported to house.

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  • pramsey 08/06/2009 4:52pm

    From the DARE web site “The disparity in mandatory sentences has resulted in a disproportionate number of African-Americans being sentenced to lengthy prison stays for crack offenses, despite most cocaine users being white, without the drug’s availability being significantly reduced.”

    I will admit up front that I have zero experience with this issue. But I would like to know: Is this a race issue, as implied by the DARE comment above. From what I’ve heard crack is much more addictive and distructive, so why not make the punishment for crack stiffer than that for white powder cocaine? If it’s not a race issue than why make the comparisons between white/black users.

    I am opposed to this based on that question. Feel free to convince me otherwise.

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    bigross1234 05/03/2010 12:32pm

    Check your scientific facts and not the gibberish spouted by those who don’t know. CRACK is no more ADDICTIVE or DESTRUCTIVE than powdered cocaine. It was simply a political ploy by the politicians of the time to make themselves look as though they were actually doing something about drugs! Look at your favorite Hollywood stars! Constantly in and out of rehab! Is someone forcing them to do drugs? No, they think its fashionable and fun!!! Few minorities can afford cocaine, so they go for the cheaper crack! Stupid, but that’s just the way that is. The sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine targets minorities! I am not saying they shouldn’t be punished for selling illegal drugs, just make the sentences comparable! 20-life for crack, 5-20 for cocaine! Come on!

  • toolmechanic 08/13/2009 10:36am

    Obviously “Race” is the only determining factor in this issue. Crack is substantially more addictive than poweder cocaine. Why would anyone want to reduce the setences for any illegal drug. If anything they should raise the sentences for powder cocaine to match the crack cocaine sentences. I think that would be fair.

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    aj9429 08/17/2009 3:19pm

    You feel as though it is just for someone to serve 10 years to serve for selling crack cocaine to another adult who wants to purchase it. But there are child sex offenders who are out and about much sooner becuase they are on the sex offender registry list. Do you think that’s fair? Think about the circumstances and people’s families.

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    pramsey 08/22/2009 11:56am

    You are absolutly right. Similar to what “toolmechanic” and I have both said, make the punishment fit the crime. The problem with most criminal law is an issue of enforcment and making the penalty stick. Some things/people just can’t be fixed/rehab’d out. Sex offenders should not be on the street, period.

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    peterdruart 12/07/2010 6:25am

    it would be fine if sex offenders were locked up if they were actually dangerous people but many that are on the list have not done anything deserving of life imprisonment

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    brauncl63 10/24/2009 7:08pm

    Just joined and in browsing saw this issue….Toolmechanic has the right idea!!

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    EuropeanAmerican 11/14/2009 1:48pm

    Actually, if you educate yourself on the issue you would know that Crack has been scientifically proven time and time again to be no more addictive than powder cocaine. Furthermore, cocaine is less addictive than nicotine and alcohol, yet we aren’t throwing cigarette smokers in prison, let alone for 10 years to life. This is insane.

    And your next argument is probably going to be how “dangerous” it is. Well no cocaine is actually a considerable mild drug, and illicit drugs pale in comparison to the dangers of pharma and OTC drugs; Tylenol being the number 1 killer. Ironically the most dangerous drugs are the ones being legally pushed and marketed as “safe” “medicine”. Most illicit drug overdoses could be prevented with proper social programs available to educate the public on safe usages. Also, people wouldn’t be afraid to call 911 for an individual in need of help if they weren’t afraid of going to prison.

    A little bit of education and common sense law goes a long way.

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    EuropeanAmerican 11/14/2009 1:49pm

    There’s no logical reason to increase any prison terms and in fact all of the evidence points in the opposite direction. Actually by criminalizing drugs we not only hinder much needed education and social programs to help those with severe addictions (which is supposed to be the purpose of the law), but we also increase violent crimes, drug cost and demand, and waste billions of tax dollars on a completely, undisputed, FAILED drug war.

    In the 1970’s when the drug war began, 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs. Today, the exact same percentage of the population is addicted to drugs, 1.3%. What exactly have we solved aside from spending trillions of tax dollars and destroying millions of lives?

    See leap.cc Law Enforcement Against Prohibition to get educated by law enforcement advocating, educating and pleading for an end to the ridiculous prohibition laws.

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    pramsey 12/03/2010 8:30am

    No sarcasm intended, I am curious as to where these ‘scientific studies’ were performed and where the results are available for the public to view. I will Google it and if I can find any I will post links here.

  • perki 08/27/2009 8:40am
    Link Reply
    + -1

    I was under the impression that crack was more addictive, and its users more prone to violence and property crime as a result. That is the reason for the mandatory 5 year sentence for 5 grams of crack, vs 500 grams of cocaine required to get a 5 year sentance. Crack is much more potent, in effect, per gram.

    “Crack, on the other hand, takes effect almost immediately when smoked, but the effects wear off rapidly, typically within 15 minutes. This rapid up-and-down encourages users to take the drug again straight away, and can lead to binges, where a user will take rock after rock, postponing the comedown, until they run out of money and drugs.”

    source: http://www.ixion.demon.co.uk/cocaine.htm

  • Rhkinc 08/29/2009 2:12pm

    Comparing one crime to another is pointless, because the justice system overall has issues so just because a peadophile gets out sooner than a cocaine dealer does not make cocaine dealing less of a crime. I say cocaine, in 5 gram increasing amounts, means one more year on a sentence. So users will get less sentencing, dealers will get more inherently. The amount could change because I have no idea how much is used in a session or in a deal, but you get my point I hope.

  • ShyeWilliam 09/19/2009 11:41am

    Crack and cocaine should have an equal amount of time for the equal amount. Yes, crack is less pure as it is mixed with backing soda but that also makes it cheaper the cocaine.

    Joe Smith has 5 grams of crack and Joe blow has 500 grams of coaine so they both get 5 years mandatory min sentence (regardless of being a first time offender)… Are you kidding? This a part of cycle that breeds disrespect for the system.

  • 4change 10/09/2009 7:01am

    It is a proven fact that 86% of individuals sentenced under this law are African American. As President obama pointed out " the only difference between crack cocaine and powder cocaine is the color of one’s skin!". Also this law takes ALL discretion from the judges in sentencing. It ties the judge hand on what sentence the judge feels is fair due to the circumstances. Say first time offender, no record etc… the judge is UNABLE to take into account anything about each different case when sentencing. Why have a judge if he cannot do what he feels is just under the law as each case is different? Explain the rational in that please? Sonnys123

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    brauncl63 10/24/2009 7:17pm

    I think obama and your view on this is BS! There are plenty of white people on crack and there are plenty who can’t afford cocaine and that is why…who cares what race a crack addict is…or a cocaine addict…make the cocaine offense the same as the crack offense sentencing. That makes the most sense. Neither should be lowered. If anything powder substance sentence should be increased.

  • Constitutionalist1 10/25/2009 10:31am

    People are going to do what they want to do. Why tie up our tax dollars and prison systems with drug offenders, leave them alone all together. They are destroying themselves, and don’t give me the “kid” speech. If you teach your child right, then a pusher will have no chance on getting them hooked. Drugs are like alcohol during prohibition, make it legal and how are the gangsters going to make their money then?

  • yesndeede 10/27/2009 12:15pm

    There are more white people locked up in Federal prison than African Americans. 51.8% of the 208,688 people in Federal prison are there on drug offenses. You folks are missing the picture here…….. If I sell you 5 grams of crack….I have made about $225 to $250 dollars. If I sell you 500 grams of cocaine (which is about half a kilo) I have made about $4500 dollars. So for $250 dollars I get 10 yrs in prison and this other guy has made 200 times more than I did and hes gets 5 yrs in prison. You do the math… more money… less time…….less money…more time….. If you were to actually see the amount of drugs 5 grams is compared to 500 grams you would totally understand what this Bill is about.

  • tj525 11/02/2009 9:48am

    to give an example of what 5 grams of crack would be a sugar packet. as for crack being more addictive than cocaine is not true. it’s cheaper and easier to get. when these laws were first passed the were set into place for “king pins” to be put away for a long time. not for your average street person. when you think of it logically the person on the street isn’t bringing the drugs into the country by the kilos. so where does the issue really come from? you get more time from selling drugs than you do if you kill or rape somebody. prison is supposed to be about reforming. to give out the time they do for selling crack is ridiculous. alot of people don’t get the chance to show they have changed and are ready to live productive lives. check the sentencing guidelines before you judge if the sentence is fit for the crime. how would you compare 30 kilos of HEROIN to 1.5 kilos of crack? check the guidelines it’s the same 30-life sentence…………

  • Latoya81 11/12/2009 3:33am


  • Comm_reply
    orvamccoy 11/16/2009 4:50pm

    Me Too !

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