The United States Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to make the “drug minus 2” amendment retroactive with a single condition – no order reducing a sentencing can take effect until November 1, 2015. So long as Congress allows the guidelines changes to stand and the legislation is in effect as of November 1, 2014. In April of this year, the Commission voted unanimously to amend the guidelines to lower the base offense levels in the drug quantity table across drug types, which should mean lower sentences for most drug offenders going forward.
While the drug quantities for certain base offense levels were raised, some offenders will still not be eligible for relief because their drug quantities were still very high. For example, the existing lower threshold for base offense level 38 is 150 kilos of cocaine. With the new guideline, the minimum is raised to 450 kilos. Unfortunately for most Panama Express Defendants, the quantities of cocaine typically are in excess of450 kilos and thus no guideline reduction will benefit them. As with all drug offenders, statutory minimum mandatory penalties still apply.
The Commission estimates that over 46,000 offenders would have their case reviewed to see if they are eligible for a reduction. This is very good news for all federal drug offenders across the nation.