Jacob Sullum points out other drug sentencing absurdities:

Back in 1993, I wrote a piece for Reason in which I highlighted the ridiculously unjust results of including the "carrier medium" for LSD (typically blotter paper) in calculating the drug's weight for sentencing purposes:

Under federal sentencing guidelines, selling 100 doses of LSD in pure form triggers a minimum sentence of less than a year, but selling the same amount on paper will get you a sentence of at least two years, three months. And if you were old-fashioned enough to drop your acid onto sugar cubes, you will end up behind bars for no less than 15 years, eight months.

Like the Minnesota ruling, this interpretation of the law elicited amazed dissents. "All this seems crazy," the 7th Circuit's Richard Posner wrote in 1990. "To base punishment on the weight of the carrier medium makes about as much sense as basing punishment on the weight of the defendant." The arbitrary, incomplete fix that the U.S. Sentencing Commission devised for that problemcounting each dose in a carrier medium as 0.4 milligram to avoid "unwarranted disparity among offenses involving the same quantity of actual LSD"is still in force, to judge by this 2006 sentencing manual (PDF).

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.