Drug Policy

Federal Sentencing Disparity

08.01.12

On August 3, 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act to reduce the sentencing disparity between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine to 18-to-1.

Previously under federal law, someone would need 100 grams of powdered cocaine to receive the same sentence as someone in possession of one gram of crack cocaine. Although the myths surrounding crack cocaine have been dispelled, the disparity persisted for decades. This resulted in harsher punishments for people of color and devastated poor and minority communities.