August 3rd, 2010
01:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama signs bill reducing cocaine sentencing gap

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (30 Responses)

    This president is ruing this country especially moral and economic values ..

    August 3, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  2. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    Now how are we supposed to maintain the highest incarceration rate in the world? Are we going to let the Chinese beat us at that too? The neoclowns would call this a "job killer." Think of all the unemployed prison guards this will create. Have a nice day!

    August 3, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Gerald

    Can we make this law retroactive so Obama can be jailed for his admitted cocaine use, just asking?

    August 3, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Massachusetts Conservative

    Wow. Now drug laws are "racist"?!?! What part of ILLEGAL does this administration not understand? This is simply in-excusable. Let's put more drug dealers and users back out on the street. Good idea.

    August 3, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Orlando Patriot

    I have an idea – instead of going on The View and signing new "laws" that don't mean a damn thing WHY DON'T YOU FIX THE ECONOMY!! You have been a DISASTER since you took office and pushing an agenda that almost two years later has pushed us deeper and deeper into a Great Recession. Keep in mind that FDR CAUSED the Great Depression by pushing social programs and not focusing on the private sector (who are the ONLY ones that can create jobs) and Obama is doing the same thing.

    Obama has created 3 TRILLION DOLLARS of additional debt AND created unemployment for 3 MILLION MORE WORKERS!! Is this an accident? NO!! Obama INTENTIONALLY is destroying this economy. ANYBODY that has studied economics could have fixed this economy in 18 months BUT NOT THIS MORON!! Obama has made the economy MUCH WORSE and if NOT STOPPED in November could very well ruin this country for a decade or more!!

    August 3, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. KMH

    About time. The war on drugs is more costly (and more immoral) than our other two active wars. Period.

    August 3, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    Thats how bipartisandhip works good job Government

    August 3, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. jim

    How's that all new presidential lowest rating going for you Brack?
    Why no hourly update on your poll ratings from this site compared to when the Bush man was in office. What's up with that CNN? Your manboy going down the tubes?
    Let's see a story.

    August 3, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Augsbee

    I see, this will reduce the amount of arrests, prisoners in jail. So this is a way to reduce the amount of prisoners we currently have to spend taxpayers money on.
    So, who cares if those using crack, which are usually Blacks, are more violent and most have criminal records, the Black communities, Black families will just have to survive those crack users.
    I am sure the Black families are very excited to hear this and have their children exposed to such violence in their neighborhoods, so much for kids going to the park to play or be able to walk home from school safely. Way to go President Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 3, 2010 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Blake

    Anyone ever get tired of all the excuses for black people. They are less than 13% of the population in the US and make up more than half the prison population. Maybe work on family unity like Hispanics, Asians and whites and things might change instead of always blaming others for their own failings.

    August 3, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    Now this is not CRACKED up to what it ought to be!!! I saw the difference in the amount that determined the sentence in the past between CRACK users and COCAINE users!!! It was RIDICULOUS!!!

    The poor CRACK user got the same amount of time the BIG, GIGANTIC, HUGE bag of COCAINE user got!! Ahh, doesn't CRACK come from COCAINE!!!

    So the COCAINE bag was reduced to try to equal out to the size of the same original amount of CRACK!! Now the bag of COCAINE is BIG versus the same little CRACK!!!

    So, in essences, you CRACK users better run and hide because YOUR sentence is still the same and the COCAINE user can still have a BIG bag of COCAINE and receive the same sentence!!

    This is a step President Obama but not a cure for the poor CRACK USER!!!

    August 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. doug

    Its not a color thing but an ideology thing, Democrats rock, literally.

    If you don't believe me then ask Marion Barry, he got re-elected after being busted for doing a lib hobby, the citizens of DC could relate with him. He would only be re-elected in areas where at least 8 out of 10 people are libs.

    August 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |

    Lady of Justice is COLOR blind!

    White folks caught with cocaine use gets a lighter jail sentence and a slap on the wrist!

    Americans of other races caught with crack cocaine get's a heavier sentence and more jail time!

    So...let's be fair and just with our justice system...all crimes related to cocaine use, either adulterated crack or the pure substance get the same fair amount of sentencing regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or gender!

    The law should be applied to all races EQUALLY...equal justice before the law!

    August 3, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Thank you Mr. President. The law was specifically targeting African Americans because crack/cocaine is usually found in urban communities. 5 grams is a fiend's personal stash.

    August 3, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. jim

    Add another group of voters that are now going to be voting for the president in the next election,"felons"

    August 3, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    Ok, so what's the end result? Instead of increasing the penalties for the regular cocaine.......(can't have that, the rich and famous do that)........he decreases the penalties for crack that the inner city criminals can escape serious prosecution, and go back out on the streets to commit more crimes.

    Makes perfect sense to me.

    August 3, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Lucullus

    This is complete nonsense. Speaking as a recovered drug user I can tell you that there is a world of difference between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. You can snort a lot of powder and be satisfied but with crack the high is so intense and the let down so drastic that you want more within minutes. This isn't a civil rights issue or a black/wihite issue, it's a reality issue. If inner city youth smoke crack that's their look out. Once again we have people who have no knowledge of what it's like to use drugs making drug laws

    August 3, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. sonny chapman

    What next on the Liberal Agenda, apply income tax withholding on Unearned Income(aptly named) ?

    August 3, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. patrick

    Are those republicans in the background? Wow! Never thought i would see the day. Light will always trump darkness.

    August 3, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Thank you CIA, Oliver North and Ronald Reagan for infesting urban communities with CRACK. The whole plan was to make a prison industrial complex and it looks like the plan worked out to perfection.

    August 3, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. ja

    where does the ignored Meth fit, it can level a community, we know why the penalty remanins laxed

    August 3, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. key

    Why are all these Senators smiling this just said something about the war on drugs. Making sentencing more fair between ethnic groups

    August 3, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Morning Star

    It is about time!

    August 3, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Rushs unseen, unheard, staff are the people he has callin to his show

    Now how about Oxycontin and Rush Limbaugh?Or is he afraid to fight big pharma and paid propagandists.

    August 3, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. Billy/Bob117

    The Fair Sentencing Act--what a pathic joke-–

    differing punishments unfairly target African-Americans.
    Then the poorly treated blacks need to stop using drugs--

    August 3, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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