Obama campaign promise — cocaine sentencing to change

MAY 3, 2009

President Obama promised during his presidential campaign to eliminate sentencing disparity between crack and powder-based cocaine. He considers it a civil rights issue and feels the disparity is wrong and should be completely eliminated.


As it stands currently, crack cocaine has a higher legal penalty than powder cocaine.

On April 29, 2009, House Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced HR 2178 designed to amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to eliminate certain mandatory minimum penalties relating to crack cocaine offenses.

The bill is titled “Crack-Cocaine Equitable Sentencing Act of 2009.”

Under this bill, if passed, penalties for crack and other forms of cocaine will be treated the same for trafficking, possession and importation. In the case of trafficking and importation, 50 grams of crack will be treated the same as 50 grams of other forms of cocaine.

Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, born in 1930, has served in Congress since 1971. This year marks his 20th term in the House of Representatives.

He’s better known for the alleged failure to pay 20 years of taxes on a Caribbean rental villa. Congressman Rangel is chairman of the Congressional committee that writes the nation’s tax code. Read more here

Read entire text of bill  HR 2178

The drug offenses and penalties of the Controlled Substance Act can be read here

The Controlled Substances Import and Export Act can be read here

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