Addiction Policy News

ASAM Urges Congress to Pass the EQUAL Act

July 12, 2021

 

On July 12, ASAM sent a letter to congress members thanking them for their introduction of H.R 1693 / S. 79, the Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law Act. This legislation would eliminate the federal crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity and apply it retroactively to those already convicted or sentenced. 

 

ASAM's letter emphasized the impact of the crack cocaine sentencing disparity on racial inequality. Systemic racism in drug policy is perhaps most easily recognized in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which enacted a 100-fold greater sentencing disparity for water-insoluble cocaine base (“crack”) versus powder cocaine. Those convicted received significantly higher sentences than their counterparts who were convicted of federal powder cocaine offenses due to this sentencing disparity. Further, it is well-known that this sentencing disparity disproportionately impacted people of color, and Black Americans in particular. By fully eliminating this disparity, Congress can take action to create a more racially just criminal justice system in our country. 

 

Read ASAM's letter here.

 

Read the bill here