Congressmen Cohen Votes to Advance the EQUAL Act

July 21, 2021
Press Release
In committee speech, says “the war on drugs is a total failure”

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today voted to advance the Eliminating the Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law (EQUAL) Act to from the Committee to a House floor vote.  The bipartisan sentencing reform measure would finally end the disparity between crack and powder cocaine offences.


In remarks before the vote, Congressman Cohen said in part:


“This war on drugs is as much, and I would submit, a greater failure than Afghanistan…If we can get out of Afghanistan, which we’ve done…, we can get out of the war on drugs, too. But it will take a bipartisan effort…It doesn’t mean legalizing everything but it means seeing these things as social problems, as mental health and physical health issues. Sending someone who is hooked on heroin or cocaine…to jail is a waste of time and an error. To get them help and treatment is the right thing to do. This bill is long overdue…This is a cultural lag oasis. This bill ends one of those cultural lags. But another is having marijuana scheduled as Schedule 1. We’ve been talking about that the entire 15 years I’ve been here, and before…”


Congressman Cohen also addressed the unfair treatment of sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson, who will not be part of the U.S. Olympic track and field roster in Toyko after testing positive for marijuana.


Congressman Cohen said: “Marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug unless you’re entered in the Coney Island hotdog-eating contest on the 4th of July. To take her right to appear, her dream, away from her is absurd…Let’s get real. The war on drugs is a total failure.”


See the Congressman’s entire remarks here.