Pamela Alexander, Julie Stewart: Cocaine sentencing disparity must end

  • Article by: PAMELA ALEXANDER and JULIE STEWART
  • Updated: November 24, 2009 - 2:46 PM

Attorney General Eric Holder is right to put this at the top of his reform list.

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Marky23Nov. 23, 09 9:01 PM

... it'll be Obama's choice whether he governs like Clinton's first 2 years or last 6. The position to not pursue state sanctioned cannabis clubs is a good start. It's also time to reschedule marijuana and, in due course to bring the international legacy of our demand for and prohibition on certain narcotics here and the consequences of that reality over there. It'll be interesting to see if this president is willing to expend any real political capital on what I consider one of the great moral issues of our time.

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savagedruidsNov. 23, 09 9:25 PM

The number one priority should be the plight of felons? Even it up give them all life.

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lvpops53Nov. 23, 0911:38 PM

I'm getting to the point where I believe that if you manufacture or distribute drugs, you should get an automatic death penalty. I know that this is not a very popular position, but too bad. I'm sick and tired of my tax money going to house these criminals, and then they get out and go do it all over again. But I shouldn't think this way because the people that sell drugs are forced into this "lifestyle" because of their upbringing.

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vcs1vcs1Nov. 24, 09 6:25 AM

Who initially requested that Congress legislate this sentencing disparity? Racist white Republican congressmen? Actually no. It was the Black Congressional Caucus at the behest of their constituents. The Strib missed this element of the story.

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davehougNov. 24, 09 7:27 AM

Can the social workers tell us the results on the family and society of a crack addict versus a powder cocaine addict???? Seriously wondering. - - davehoug@comcast.net

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Marky23Nov. 24, 09 9:06 AM

Whose society... US or Colombian? Because users of both are gifting countries like Colombia with a 9-11 in terror related violence annually. I know what you're thinking, it's the thought that counts... and I kind of resent them for not liking our present too.

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tbot2000Nov. 24, 09 9:54 AM

Humans have always and will always look to get "high" in different ways. We cannot stop it. Prohibition of alcohol was a complete failure. It's time we look for effective ways to deal with drugs. Laws for drugs will always fail because the demand will never go away. Why should we legislate what people want to put into their own bodies? If we decriminalize all drugs we can turn more law enforcement $$ on real crime and invest in rehabilitation clinics (an effective tool in fighting drug use).. I'm not advocating people should use drugs, I'm just looking for productive ways to handle the problems drug use creates. Our current system just makes the problems worse... and wastes money... and resources...

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cailinNov. 24, 0910:26 AM

People who deal drugs are sentenced on the (quantifiable, provable) basis of the quantities of drugs that they sell, not on the basis of the (unquantifiable, unprovable)impact of their customers' addiction on society. Also, if you're going to talk about the "impact" of an addiction to powder cocaine, Bernie Madoff's New York office was referred to by drug dealers as the "North Pole", because of the amount of "snow" to be found there; rich white men were taking the life savings and retirement funds of ordinary people and ruining those people's lives by converting those funds into powder cocaine. But hey, that's rich white guys, so nothing they do can really be all *that* wrong, right?

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minn12Nov. 24, 0911:28 AM

It is a fact that crack cocaine is vastly more addictive than powder cocaine, and crack is known to create instant addicts after only one 'hit'. Crack has destroyed far more lives and families than powder cocaine. So if crack is 1000 times more dangerous than powder cocaine, their argument is that the penalties for sale and use of each should be the same?? I don't think so. This is about playing the race card, because one part of the population chooses to use and sell crack more than other parts. I say the more severe the crime (crack) the more severe the penalty should be. This is apples and oranges, not apples and apples.

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jsherwin1Nov. 24, 0911:38 AM

Why the disparity between sentencing of crack and powder offenders? Isn't the answer because those living in neighborhoods infested with crack cocaine in the mid 1980s demanded tougher sentencing laws? It just so happens that those neighborhoods most impacted were predominately African-American. Now we suddenly must right a wrong? Sentencing was more severe for one reason only, the victims of crack related violence demanded tougher sentencing. It has nothing to do with race.

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