hip hop music

May 8, 2003

Rappers vs. Rockefeller

It is truly amazing, and appalling, that the Rockefeller drug laws are still on the books. This is certainly a more worthy cause to rally behind than whether Ludacris gets to be in a Pepsi commercial:

Coalition Wants New York Drug Law Repealed

Politicians, civil rights groups and rappers on Thursday demanded the repeal of laws in New York that impose mandatory stiff prison terms for possession or sales of small amounts of illegal drugs.

'It makes no sense to keep drug offenders behind bars when the state has an $11 billion deficit,' former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo said at an event to mark the 30th anniversary of the enactment of the drug laws.

Cuomo, who sought the Democratic nomination for governor in the last election, said it costs taxpayers $610 million a year to hold some 22,000 non-violent drug offenders in prison.

Known as the 'Rockefeller' drug laws, they were enacted in 1973 when Nelson Rockefeller, a Republican, was governor. In general, the laws require judges to impose a sentence of 15 years to life in prison for anyone convicted of selling two ounces, or possessing four ounces, of an illegal narcotic such as cocaine or heroin.

Critics of the laws say many of those convicted would be better off in rehabilitation facilities -- an option they say is cheaper and more productive than prison.

'We want to create an awareness campaign so that people know that the law has to be repealed,' said Russell Simmons, chairman of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network...

EDIT: Here is a report with more details on the hip-hop angle.

Posted by jsmooth995 at May 8, 2003 8:10 PM

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