Joe Biden Goes Soft on Drugs


In a press release that does not seem to be available online, the American Civil Liberties Union praises Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), historically one of the most gung-ho drug warriors in the Democratic Party, for introducing a bill that would eliminate the sentencing disparity between crack and cocaine powder. Previous proposals would have merely reduced the disparity, in some cases by making cocaine powder sentences more severe. By contrast, Biden's bill would raises the amount of crack that triggers a five-year mandatory minimum sentence to 500 grams, the same as the amount for cocaine powder. Biden announced his plan last week:

The current sentencing disparity between the two forms of cocaine is based on false notions and old logic.  The bottom line is that there is no scientific justification for any disparity.  Crack and powder are simply two forms of the same drug, and each form produces identical effects.  I will soon be introducing legislation that eliminates the sentencing disparity completely, fixing this injustice once and for all.