Yesterday, the Sentencing Commission held a public hearing on synthetic drugs and alternatives to incarceration. Prior to taking testimony, the Commission noted that no amendments would be presented this cycle because the Commission lacked a quorum to make the deadline for the year – however, two additional commissioners were confirmed in March 2017, so now the Commission has a quorum to move forward in the future. The hearing focused on two multi-year policy priorities. The Commission first heard from two panels of speakers about several programs in the federal court system designed to promote alternatives to incarceration. The Commission then heard testimony from experts on synthetic drugs, including their chemical structure, pharmacological effects, trafficking patterns, and community impact – this testimony is worth a read as it could be helpful in crafting arguments for sentencing or for cases on appeal.
For additional information about the hearing or to read the testimony of the witnesses, see this Sentencing Commission post.