October 30, 1995
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EST
From Senior White House Correspondent Wolf Blitzer
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton rejected the recommendations of the U.S. Sentencing Commission to equalize the penalties for crack and powder cocaine distribution Monday.
In a statement released by the White House, the president also refused the commission's proposals to reduce the penalties for money laundering.
"I am opposed to both of these changes," he said in a written statement.
In recent weeks, several black leaders including Jesse Jackson have complained that the penalties for crack cocaine are stiffer than those for powdered cocaine. They have pointed out that crack cocaine users are often inner city black youths while powdered cocaine users usually are more affluent white adults.
But in his statement, Clinton says "Trafficking in crack, and the violence it fosters, has a devastating impact on communities across America, especially inner city communities. Tough penalties for crack trafficking are required because of the effect on individuals and families, related gang activity, turf battles, and other violence."
Clinton called on the sentencing commission to undertake further review of the penalties for powdered cocaine users.
He says his administration will continue to go "after drug traffickers at every level of their networks."
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