California Ends Disparities in Crack and Cocaine Sentences

Califorina Eliminates Crack/Cocaine Sentencing Disparities

California has eliminated the legal distinction between cocaine and crack for purposes of criminal sentencing. Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Sentencing Act on Sunday; the bill alters the state's laws such that identical weights of "cocaine" and "cocaine base" (the legal term that often refers to crack) are treated the same. Previously, for example, individuals convicted of possessing at least 14.25 grams of cocaine base were subject to the same property forfeiture laws as those who possessed 28.5 grams of cocaine, while the law now applies only to those convicted of possessing at least 28.5 grams of either substance.

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