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Vicente Fox Says Legalizing Cannabis in Mexico would Combat Cartels




Former Mexico President Vicente Fox Quesada said that legalizing cannabis and other drugs would be the best way to combat drug cartels that operate in the country. Mexico’s current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has also indicated support for cannabis reform.

With Mexico’s Supreme Court deadline looming, a 42-page draft legislation is currently being refined to legalize cannabis in the country. Legalization in the legislature could begin within days, although it would take much longer for licensing and a mature market to emerge.

After leaving office in 2006, Fox began to evolve in his views on cannabis. Last year, the former president joined the board of Khiron Life Sciences, a Canadian cannabis company. In a recent interview with CNBC, he explained how legalizing cannabis and other drugs would take the money away from cartels and funnel it into a regulated system.

In places such as Colombia, parts of the U.S. and Canada, crime rates actually fell when cannabis was legalized. “Watching that example, we see that in a natural way, the old illegal underground activities start to disappear by themselves, because now they don’t have a market,” Fox told CNBC. “The market is taken by the new situation—the new products, the new corporations being provided.” 

Why not license illegal distributors instead of fighting them which leads to more violence, he asked. “If you go to Washington state, or Seattle,” he added, “you see today that many of the old places that we used to look that were underground providing product to consumers, now they have formed part of the new industry that is legal. Now, instead of committing crimes by distributing drugs, now they do it as a businessman.”

If cannabis or other drugs were stored in regulated dispensaries or pharmacies, the violence that surrounds illegal activities would cease because many of the dangerous situations linked to drug trade, such as the unregulated handling of cash, would simply not exist.