The U.S. Sentencing Commission issued proposed guidelines for federal judges for sentencing in cases involving synthetic drugs and fentanyl. The panel said the fentanyl proposal amounts to a 50 percent increase in recommended sentences.
The United States Sentencing Commission has issued proposed guidelines for judges for sentencing in synthetic drug cases. The proposal reflects “a collaborative, detailed, and data-driven approach to federal sentencing policy,” the panel said. The commission said its proposal resulted from a multi-year study of synthetic drugs, which have not been included in federal sentencing guidelines, prompting courts to hold “expensive and resource-intensive hearings.”
The panel expressed the hope that its actions would “simplify and promote uniformity” in sentencing drug offenders. The commission also adopted a new guideline definition of the term “fentanyl analogue.” The panel said that the change “raises the guideline penalties for fentanyl analogues to a level more consistent with the current statutory penalty structure.” Commissioners voted for a four-level sentencing enhancement for knowingly misrepresenting or knowingly marketing fentanyl or fentanyl analogues as another substance, which it said equates to an approximate 50 percent increase in the recommended sentence.