Crack cocaine and powder cocaine are two forms of the same drug. Despite this, under federal law we impose the same harsh penalties for the possession of one amount of crack cocaine and an amount of powder cocaine that is 18 times larger. This makes it much easier to trigger a mandatory minimum for sale of crack cocaine than if the same offense were committed with powder cocaine.
This disparity is not based in science and has a racially discriminatory impact. Congress should eliminate the disparity and apply the reform retroactively so all people get fair sentences.
Earlier this year, Sen. Cory Booker reintroduced the EQUAL Act, which would end this sentencing disparity and apply the equal penalties retroactively. Sen. Booker was joined by Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin and Senate Judiciary Lindsey Graham as well as Sens. Thom Tillis, Christopher Coons, Cynthia Lummis, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Rand Paul. The EQUAL Act was introduced in the U.S. House by the bipartisan group of Reps. Kelly Armstrong, Hakeem Jeffries, Bobby Scott, and Don Bacon. These bills will be considered in both chambers in the coming months. FAMM supports both bills.
Take Action: Call your U.S. Senators at 844-899-8819 in support of the Equal Act. You can use the script below:
My name is (your name) I’m calling to ask that (your U.S. senators) support the Equal Act. There is no reason to treat crack and powder cocaine differently, and doing so has an especially harmful impact on Black and poor communities. Inequality like this can cause people to lose trust and respect for the criminal justice system, making everyone less safe.
You can learn more about the crack disparity and why it’s so important in FAMM’s fight for true criminal justice reform.
- Read our white paper on the EQUAL Act
- Read our One-Pager on the Crack Disparity in the States
- Read our Response to Hard Questions about the Crack Disparity
- Read Stories from People Impacted by the Disparity
- Read a Bipartisan Coalition Letter Urging Congress to Support the EQUAL Act
- Read about the Introduction of The EQUAL Act
- Read News Coverage of the EQUAL Act