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Pioneering Hip-Hop mogul and activist Russell Simmons led a protest today (March 25) in Manhattan to end the controversial Rockefeller Drug Laws.

The rally began this afternoon in front of Governor David Paterson’s Manhattan office, located at 633 3rd Ave. Enacted in 1973, Rockefeller Drug Laws decree stiff mandatory sentences of 15-25 years to life in prison for selling 56 grams or more of narcotics, including marijuana.

The bill has received criticism for its perceived focus on low-level and minority offenders, mostly incarcerated for possessing small amounts of crack cocaine.

Although moderate reforms were made in 2004, Simmons is pushing for the New York Senate and Governor Paterson to support a new Assembly bill that will restore judicial discretion in sentencing.

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