WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
6 Feb 2013 | Commentary

U.S. Elections and the War on Drugs

What do the marijuana legalization referenda and President Obama's reelection mean for drug policy in the United States and abroad? In this NACLA Report, WOLA Senior Fellow Coletta Youngers unpacks recent trends in drug policy and analyzes why hoped-for reforms have fallen short. Three factors, she argues, can explain the continuation of the "war on drugs": U.S. Congressional commitment to drug war rhetoric and policies, a powerful and bloated drug war bureaucracy, and Obama's unwillingness to make drug policy reform a central issue. She concludes, however, that U.S. intransigence does not spell the end of drug reform. Latin American leaders from all ends of the political spectrum have been leading the charge from the south to change domestic and international drug laws. The question remains, then, will a second term Obama join the regional debate?

To read the entire NACLA report, please click here.

Photo courtesy of Sanho Tree.