John McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona who is retiring from Congress, said the war on drugs is “a total failure.”
“Drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions,” he said.
“The American people need to be reminded again that we are a nation of laws, not a nation that is dependent on the whims of the few.”
“We have a moral obligation to the American people and to our country, and that’s why I will not support the drug war, which is a complete failure,” he added.
McCain is one of only a handful of Republicans who voted for the 2002 Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act.
The legislation passed the Senate but stalled in the House, where conservatives argued the bill was too harsh on the drug cartels and too costly.
Now, McCain is trying to bring back the bill in a bill that he’s co-sponsored with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
“I think we’re headed toward a point where we need to get rid of the war, and it needs to be replaced with something that has a real impact,” McCain said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.
According to a Congressional Research Service report released in February, more than a third of drug arrests are in poor communities, and nearly 60 percent of those arrests are of people in poverty.
President Donald Trump has made marijuana legalization a top priority in his first year in office.
A number of Republicans have supported marijuana legalization.