Is Crack Purer or More Potent Than Cocaine?
There is a common misconception that crack and cocaine are fundamentally different drugs. However, crack is simply powder cocaine that has been converted into a "rock" form which can be smoked. The conversion of power cocaine to crack does not affect the potency or purity of the drug.
A great deal of research has been conducted to determine if crack and cocaine are actually two different drugs as sentencing guidelines assume. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dorothy Hatsukami and Marian Fischman concluded that the physiological and psychoactive effects of crack and cocaine are so similar that different sentences can't be justified. They propose that treatment will serve individuals convicted of crack sale or possession better than incarceration.
This issue was also addressed in the United States District Court of the Northern District of Georgia. In the case of United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division v. Ricky Davis and Jerry Deron Jones the courts looked at whether or not the law adequately defines the difference between cocaine and cocaine base (the alleged precursor to crack). The court not only determined that cocaine base and cocaine are identical, they also found that there is no scientific meaning to the word "crack". Since there is no scientific difference between crack and cocaine the court found no legal justification for differing sentences.
Hatsukami, D. and Fischman, M. Crack cocaine and cocaine hydrochloride: are the differences myths or reality?. Journal of the American Medical Association (November 1996).
United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division. v. Ricky Davis and Jerry Deron Jones, 864 F.Supp. 1303 (1994)