Former Mexican President Vicente Fox Calls for Debate on Taxing and Regulating Drugs as Strategy to Deal with Violence in Mexico

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Fox's Pronouncement Comes on Heels of California Gov. Schwarzenegger's Call for Debate on Marijuana Legalization

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 12, 2009.Contact: Ethan Nadelmann (646) 335 - 2240 or Tony Newman (646) 335 - 5384

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox said today that it is time to renew the debate to tax and regulate drugs as a strategy to deal with the increased drug-related violence in Mexico. President Fox first proposed the decriminalization of some drugs while still in office. His recent comments came during an interview with an Associated Press reporter during Fox's visit to the United States for a summit on U.S., Mexico and Canada relations.

The terrifying violence in Mexico serves as a backdrop to Fox's comments. More than 10,000 people have been killed since Mexican President Calderon launched a military offensive against drug cartels in 2006. According to the Associated Press, Fox said that strict controls and high taxes would be necessary under legalization. He said levels of drug use might remain the same but violence would be significantly reduced because cartels would no longer control the supply. President Fox said he is not convinced legalization is the answer but "...why not discuss it?"

"It's great to hear yet another former president break the taboo on talking about drug legalization," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "President Fox merely said what so many others know but still fear to say: that the only way to curtail the disastrous consequences of the failed drug war is to put all options on the table."

Fox's comments come on the heels of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger weighing in on marijuana prohibition last week. Schwarzenegger's response to a reporter's question at a news conference made him the highest-profile U.S. elected official to question publicly the nation's marijuana policies.

"It's time for a debate" on marijuana legalization, Schwarzenegger said. "I think all of those ideas of creating extra revenues, I'm always for an open debate on it. And I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs," he added.

Since the beginning of this year, several high-profile figures in addition to Fox and Schwarzenegger have also weighed in on these issues:

  • Assembly Member Tom Ammiano introduced a bill (AB 390) recently to tax and regulate marijuana in California like alcohol.
  • Facing unparalleled violence across the border in Mexico, the city council of El Paso, TX passed a resolution in January 2009 calling on Congress to debate drug legalization as a way of reducing prohibition-related violence.
  • In February 2009, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, a high-level commission co-chaired by former presidents of Brazil (Fernando Henrique Cardoso), Colombia (César Gaviria) , and Mexico (Ernesto Zedillo), called for a "paradigm shift" in global drug policy, including decriminalizing marijuana and "breaking the taboo" on open and robust debate about all drug policy options.  
  • Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, citing evidence that Mexican drug trafficking organizations get 60 percent to 80 percent of their revenue from marijuana, has suggested that national policymakers debate legalizing marijuana as a way to cripple both Mexican and U.S. gangs.

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This page contains a single entry by writch published on May 13, 2009 4:47 AM.

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