The magic of crack cocaine lies in its power to turn a little bit of drugs into more drugs. But crack also stretches prison sentences: Five grams of crack and 500 grams of cocaine have come with the same mandatory jail time for the last two decades because, supposedly, crack is more addictive and makes users more violent than regular
China white powder.
Eight out of 10 crack cocaine defendants are African American, while just under two-thirds of powder cocaine defendants are white, according to the United States Sentencing Commission.
Realizing there was something terribly wrong here, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously today to eliminate the discrepancy, following a similar bill in the House Judiciary last summer. The bill will not help anyone who is already serving time.
A Vote to Change Some Cocaine Sentences [Caucus/NYT]