Let me tell you a secret about America, kids. The country has a gang of racist laws. Need an example? Just look at the way punishment for crack is handled in relation to powdered cocaine. Possessing five grams of crack means that you have a minimum five-year sentence in jail. To see that much jail time, you’d have to carry 500 grams of powdered cocaine. And, in case you didn’t know, African-Americans are caught with crack way more often than white people are. That’s why Lindsay Lohan and Amy Winehouse can get caught with a bag of blow and go to rehab and face 12 minutes in jail while your cousin is serving five years for possessing two sugar cubes-worth of crack.
All of that’s about to change. Today, Obama signed a law that will cut down on the disparity of cocaine sentences. Let the liquor tell it:
Advocates pushed to totally eliminate the disparity but ultimately a compromise was struck between Democrats and Republicans to reduce the 100-to-1 disparity to 18-to-1. The compromise also eliminated the five year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of five grams of cocaine (about two sugar packets worth). The repeal of that mandatory minimum is the first repeal of a mandatory minimum drug sentence since the 1970s. Overall, the compromise bill is expected to reduce the federal prison population by thousands of offenders and save an estimated $42 million in criminal justice spending over the first five years. [USA Today]
Obama has gotten a lot of flack for not growing out a fro’ and raising the Black Power fist, but you have to admit that this is a major law that goes a long way to righting a major racially motivated wrong. Clap for him.