Russell Simmons, Ron Howard, Will Smith and other stars write letter to Obama to change US drug policy

Russell Simmons attends the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on March 16, 2013 in New York City.
Russell Simmons attends the 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on March 16, 2013 in New York City. Larry Busacca/Getty Images for GLAAD

Lil Wayne, Ron Howard, Scarlett Johansson and Kim Kardashian are all on the same page when it comes to criminal justice reform.

They're among more than 100 entertainers calling on President Barack Obama to focus on changing drug laws. Rap mogul Russell Simmons helped assemble the coalition of celebrities and civil rights leaders that presented a letter to President Obama on Tuesday.

The group praises the president's efforts toward drug incarceration reform but insists "the time is right" to move toward replacing jail sentences with intervention and rehabilitation for non-violent drug offenders.

The letter is "signed by over 175 of the most influential people in America offering the President our support in creating a new strategy to advance a national effort to raise awareness on this issue and to be a nucleus for a huge campaign to end these draconian laws and prison sentences across America," Simmons wrote on his blog. "If those of us who have a public profile have the ability to uplift others, then it is our duty to do so."

The starry group, which also includes Jennifer Hudson, Susan Sarandon and Will Smith, also asks Obama to form a panel to handle clemency requests and to support a measure that allows judges to waive mandatory minimum sentences.

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