(SEATTLE) — A former Latin American president has once again said that drugs should be legalized. This time it was Vicente Fox who was the president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006.
Fox was in Seattle on Thursday, as a guest speaker for Don Pellicer, a new company that wants to set up marijuana stores in Washington state and Colorado, and aims to create America’s “largest” marijuana brand. The former Mexican president spoke in a press conference in which Don Pellicer’s CEO [a former Microsoft executive] sought money from investors, and unveiled plans to buy marijuana dispensaries.
After praising Don Pellicer and its head honchos for their “initiative,” Fox described marijuana prohibition as a “trap,” that has increased violence in Mexico.
He said that policies that legalize the drug’s consumption represent an “opportunity,” to stop that violence, and welcomed the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Washington and Colorado.
“This state of Washington has decided to lead a new path,” Fox said. “In Mexico we welcome this initiative because the cost of the war [against drug cartels] is becoming unbearable.”
Many politicians in Latin America are also talking about taking new paths in drug policy, and demanding that the U.S. also consider legalization as an international strategy.
Some, like Fox, are former presidents, who fought drug cartels tooth and nail in their time, and now have little to lose by saying that drugs should be legalized.
Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has been working to convince Central American countries to legalize many drugs, even cocaine. In a February 2012 speech, Molina said, “We’ve seen that when we capture a drug boss, cartels get reorganized and business continues. … While there is demand in the United States, drug trafficking will continue [in Latin America].”
Presidents Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Pepe Mujica of Uruguay have also worked to push legislation that would legalize marijuana.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Dave Gilbert, CNN
James Griffiths, CNN
Rafael Romo and Emanuella Grinberg, CNN