After a century of international drug prohibition, and amidst growing consensus that it has been a costly policy failure, arguments for drug law reform are gathering momentum globally. Despite a large body of empirically-oriented policy research, the area remains under-developed conceptually and theoretically. This paper seeks to address this gap by assembling some intellectual resources for a critical socio-legal analysis of drug law reform, drawing on insights from regulation studies, economics, political economy and economic sociology. Reframing the problem as one of market regulation, and using Shearing’s constitutive approach, opens up some new ways of thinking about how drug laws function and the possibilities for reform. It also highlights the importance of taking normative thinking about drug policy futures seriously. In conclusion, it is suggested that a new concept of exchangespace may be key to further theoretical development in this field.