[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/03/art.obama.fairsentencingact4.gi.jpg caption =" President Obama on Tuesday signed the Fair Sentencing Act."]Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama signed a bill Tuesday reducing the disparity in penalties for the use of crack and powder cocaine, according to the White House.
The enactment of the law seals a hard-fought victory for civil rights activists who have argued for years that the differing punishments unfairly target African-Americans.
The Fair Sentencing Act repeals a five-year mandatory sentence for first time offenders, and for repeat offenders with less than 28 grams of crack cocaine. The old law set the mandatory sentence for conviction at five grams.