U.S. Sentencing Commission considering retroactive application of reduced crack sentencing guidelines
DEA image in the public domain.
Cocaine base — often referred to as crack — is pharmacologically indistinguishable from powder cocaine. However, for many years, the United States sentencing guidelines have provided for a harsh 100:1 sentencing disparity based on weight between the two. In the past, those who have sought to close the 100:1 sentencing gap have met with some in Congress who have proposed narrowing the gap by making powder cocaine sentencing harsher.
Finally, the United States Sentencing Commission has seen some light, by considering (1) reducing the sentencing disparity by penalizing cocaine base less harshly, and (2) making the change retroactive. This is detailed further in the November 12, 2007, Los Angeles Times.