February 5, 2023


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In the United States, cocaine and crack cases are treated equally by the courts

It is the result of an injustice to the over-incarceration of blacks in the United States. The US Attorney General on Friday (December 16) advised prosecutors not to treat cocaine-related crimes any differently than crimes involving crack cocaine.

In a directive to his office, Minister Merrick Garland said there was no reason to treat the two drugs differently. “Science simply does not show a difference between crack and cocaine because there is no significant pharmacological difference between the two drugs.”He mentions in this order made public by the ministry.

Congress passed legislation — outlined by former senator and current president Joe Biden — that established tougher penalties for trafficking or possessing the drug than cocaine, a derivative of cocaine that spread across the U.S. in the 1980s and 1990s.

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The law provided for up to five years in prison for possession of 500 grams of cocaine, and five grams of crack was enough to see the same punishment. Possession of crack over five grams carries a mandatory prison sentence for the first offense. According to The Sentencing Project, an organization that advocates alternatives to incarceration and denounces racial bias in sentencing in the United States.

Crack is more common among African Americans

At the time, crack was widespread in the African-American community, while cocaine was more common in privileged and white neighborhoods, according to The Sentencing Project. As a result, black people were sentenced to longer prison terms during the “crack epidemic,” increasing the prison population for longer periods of time. Even today, the incarceration rate of black Americans is nearly five times that of white Americans.

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In 2010, a law abolished mandatory prison terms, but possession of crack cocaine was still judged more harshly than possession of cocaine. In 2018, Donald Trump signed a new law allowing crack users and dealers to appeal.

But in his memo, Merrick Garland, an appointee of President Joe Biden, explained it “Difference in Sentence [dans les affaires de] “Crack and Cocaine Still Responsible for Unnecessary Racial Disparities in Charges”.

Mr. Biden said the administration supports proposed legislation to commute the sentences. Garland added. The text was presented to Congress in January 2021, but progress has not been made.

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The world with AFP