Speaking about cannabis, former Mexican President Vicente Fox told television host Bill Maher, “we must move ahead with legalization,” while announcing the country’s upcoming global cannabis summit Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher.
In a discussion about Mexico’s drug cartels and the central role played by the United States in their rise, Fox told Maher that lawmakers need to concede the fact that marijuana sales will continue regardless of their legality. The choice now, said Fox, is for government to do business with a regulated industry or to allow the black market, and the crime associated with it to continue to grow.
Last year Mexico recorded its highest homicide rate since the start of official record-keeping 20 years ago. Over 29,000 people were murdered in the country in 2017, many as a result of cartel violence.
"You move that massive amount of money from criminals into government through paying taxes," Fox said to Maher. "This is the difference: sitting on your side with [El] Chapo Guzman or sitting here with farmers and businessmen that are today running that new industry. This is the paradigm that we want to change in Mexico."
The show hammered home the point that much of the responsibility for Mexico’s cartel violence lay at the hands of the United States. Americans are the primary consumers for the drugs sold by Mexican cartels, and, most notably, The “War on Drugs” has ravaged the country while doing little to stem the flow of drugs crossing the border.
Fox was blunt in his assessment that marijuana legalization in the U.S. would undoubtedly put an end to the rising death toll.
"Our problem in Mexico...[is that] the headquarters of crime and cartels are here in the United States," Fox told the panel that also included authors Salman Rushdie and Fran Lebowitz. "And they are hiring Mexican cartels to bring in the drug from the south - from Colombia and Venezuela and from elsewhere."
Fox has been an outspoken critic of U.S. marijuana policy before, most notably of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. According to Civilized hen asked what he thought about Sessions and his proposal to pull back on federal protections for states with legalized cannabis Fox replied, “That he is crazy. That he doesn’t know about history. That he doesn’t know what we have built with such a big effort and such sacrifice."
To see the full clip go here.
Photo Credit: By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Vicente Fox) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons