Christopher Moraff

Christopher Moraff covers national politics, social justice and consumer issues for a number of publications. He writes a weekly column for Philadelphia magazine's blog “The Philly Post” and is a contributing writer for In These Times, where he serves on the Board of Editors.

 

Recent Articles

Going Rogue for Marriage Equality

AP Photo/Matt Rourke
AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Tamara Davis, left, and Nicola Cucinotta kiss after obtaining a marriage license in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania despite a state law banning such unions.

The New Gay-Rights Frontier

Flickr/Stéfan

As the Supreme Court prepares to take its first serious look at the issue of same-sex marriage—with oral arguments set to begin March 26 in back-to-back challenges to California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act—gay-rights activists and their supporters in the New Jersey Legislature are quietly advancing their fight for LGBT equality on a separate front, with a concerted push to undermine the practice of controversial gay conversion therapy in the state. 

The Budget Prescription

Earlier this month, the European Commission launched a new round of investigations targeting the pharmaceutical industry for allegedly colluding to keep low-cost generic drugs off the market. As a result, regulators are looking into the 2005 contractual arrangements between U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and the generic branches of the Swiss-based company Novartis to see whether the agreements purposely delayed the introduction of a generic version of the painkiller Fentanyl to the Dutch market.

Latin America's Legalization Push

South of the border, where drug violence has taken a serious toll, lawmakers are weighing their decriminalization options.

A call for drug policy-reform is echoing across Latin America, where a decades-long, U.S.-sponsored battle against drug production and distribution has fostered a climate of fear, insecurity, and death. Throughout the region, former and current political leaders have allied with academics, medical professionals, and community activists to issue an appeal for a multinational dialogue on alternatives to the current drug war, including a possible end to drug prohibition.

A Crack in the System

For the fourth time in 20 years the U.S. Sentencing Commission has asked lawmakers to reform mandatory cocaine sentencing policy. Might this be the year Congress listens?

A flurry of recent legislative activity may finally signal an end to what critics call a blatantly racist federal sentencing policy.

Now over 20 years old, the sentencing guidelines set forth in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 mandate a minimum incarceration of five years for possession of five grams of crack cocaine -- the same penalty that is triggered for the sale of 500 grams of powder cocaine, or 100-times the minimum quantity for crack.

Opposition to the so-called "crack disparity" has grown steadily through the years and today spans the political spectrum from the conservative Rand Corporation to the American Civil Liberties Union.

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