Why Nadelmann Should Be Our Next Drug Czar

For over 35 years America’s war at home, the Drug War, has been raging. Owing in large part to drug war excesses, the United States now locks up more of its citizens than any nation on earth — more than 2.3 million, with half a million of them behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses alone. That is more than Western Europe, with a much higher population, incarcerates for all crimes combined.

The historic election of Barack Obama signals a unique opportunity to begin to heal one of America’s worst open sores and end the drug war, but that is not going to happen unless President Obama nominates someone exceptional to the position of drug czar, or director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The appointment of a “moderate” will not be sufficient, particularly when President Obama’s stated goals are to repeal the harshest drug sentences, remove federal bans on syringe-exchange funding to reduce HIV/AIDS, allow medical cannabis research, and support treatment alternatives for low-level drug offenders.