Of a million things President Obama could use his second term in office to fix, he has maybe 10 slots — 10 real chances to advance the debate about a topic, even to advance policy, even while Washington is at its sclerotic worst. Drug law reform has always been on the president's to-do list. This I know from a series of conversations with some of his senior policy advisers during the first term. Because Obama's Justice Department has not stopped enforcing federal drug laws even as Americans are evolving quickly on the issue, and because Obama himself has not yet used one of those presidential attention-getting arrows he has, my prediction that he would move in his second term to attack the prison-drug-race nexus has been dismissed as wishful thinking, or, worse, something I just made up.

The drug war is grossly destructive for many reasons: the effect on black families (and increasingly, white families), the cartel violence in Mexico created by U.S. demand, the searing effect that drug policing has on inner cities, the billions of dollars a year spent with virtually nothing to show for it, and many more.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us