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January 24, 2013 (The Nation)

Twenty Ways Obama Can Use Executive Power to Push a Progressive Agenda

The editors of The Nation compiled a list of executive actions that President Obama should take across a broad range of issues—from environment and foreign policy to the economy and criminal justice—including suggestions from some readers.

The list notes that “President Richard Nixon declared the ‘war on drugs’ and created the Drug Enforcement Administration via executive order; Obama, some readers suggested, could finally end the “war on drugs.”

Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project suggests that “the president and/or attorney general could issue a policy recommendation asking United States attorneys to prosecute only high-level cases or those in which there is a clear federal interest.” This could include ordering the DEA to cease its raids on medical marijuana growers, which result in outrageous miscarriages of justice—as in the case of Chris Williams, arrested in Montana for growing then-legal medical marijuana, who at one point was facing more than eighty years in prison.

Issue Area(s): Sentencing Policy, Incarceration, Racial Disparity, Felony Disenfranchisement, Collateral Consequences