The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-220) was an Act of Congress signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on August 3, 2010. Similar bills were introduced in several U.S. Congresses before its passage in 2010. The law reduced the disparity between the amount of crack cocaine and powder cocaine needed to trigger certain United States federal criminal penalties from a 100:1 weight ratio to an 18:1 weight ratio and eliminated the five-year mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of crack cocaine, among other provisions. Courts had also acted to reduce the sentencing disparity prior to the bill's passage.
The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 implemented the initial disparity, reflecting Congress's view that crack cocaine was a more dangerous and harmful drug than powder cocaine. In the decades since, extensive research by the United States Sentencing Commission and other experts has suggested that the differences between the effects of the two drugs are exaggerated and that the sentencing disparity is unwarranted. Further controversy surrounding the 100:1 ratio was a result of its description by some as being racially biased and contributing to a disproportionate number of African Americans being sentenced for crack cocaine offenses. Legislation to reduce the disparity has been introduced since the mid-1990s, culminating in the signing of the Fair Sentencing Act.