Decades of drug war have brought only crisis

The new visibility of police violence toward African-Americans in the United States has stoked public debate about policing: What about body cameras? Should we reform police training? Perhaps we should go slow on all that military gear?

I find it almost impossible to sit through any of this while the underlying issue goes unaddressed: It’s the drug economy, stupid.

It’s well past time to legalize marijuana. But it’s also time to consider decriminalizing nonviolent crimes involving other drugs, or at least to reclassify lower-level, nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors. We should also expunge felony convictions for many classes of nonviolent drug offenses — those involving marijuana but for other drugs, too — to re-enfranchise, economically and politically, those who have staffed the drug trade.

Before I make my case, let me pause to say that I write this as the last living American, or so it sometimes feels, never to have...

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