Congress has been urged for years to end sentencing disparities in the courts between crack versus powdered cocaine. Our prisons are full of people with drug offenses but African Americans who tend to use crack cocaine get much harsher sentences in the courts.
Only five grams of crack (5 packets of sugar) carries the same sentencing as half a kilo of powder cocaine (500 packets of sugar). The climate in this country is changing because many citizens now view these disparities unjust. It is mainly because it is the same exact drug; it is just manufactured in a different way. There are African Americans serving over 20 years for five grams of crack and their white counterparts are getting 5 years for 500 grams of powdered cocaine.
The Obama administration is calling for the sentencing disparities to end. The President also wants each drug offender to enter a drug treatment and rehabilitation program before they are released back into society.
The general attitude among prosecutors has changed towards crack cocaine versus powder cocaine offenses. Judges are expected to use their own discretion in sentencing guidelines until the laws are changed. More than likely the sentencing for powder cocaine will be longer.