The Obama administration comically thinks they deserve credit for ending the “war on drugs” simply because Obama has stopped calling their policies a “war on drugs.” This is despite the fact that the administration has done very little to change their war-style policies. For example the Drug Czar’s communications director tweeted this:
Ending the war on drugs requires more than a simply rhetorical rephrasing and so far that is basically all Obama has really done.
While it is true that the Obama’s 2014 budget slightly increased the amount spent on treatment relative to the amount spent on enforcement compared to last year, the ratio is still 58 percent on enforcement and 42 percent on treatment. By comparison this is the same ratio it was at the end of George W. Bush’s presidency.
There is a lot Obama could unilaterally do to truly reduce the drug war. He could call for a true shift in federal spending. He could promise the federal law enforcement would take a hand off approach in states that legalize marijuana. He could tell federal agencies to stop preventing FDA approved research of medical marijuana. He could reschedule marijuana. So far he has done none of these things even though they all have popular support.
Instead Obama wants to keep the drug war policies going but get credit for just putting a new name on it.