Posting in Government
MEXICO CITY -- A new push to legalize marijuana in Mexico's populous capital is taking the debate to a new level.
MEXICO CITY -- Ex-President Vicente Fox has been on the campaign trail ever since he left office in 2006 -- not for re-election, prohibited in Mexico, but to legalize marijuana.
He has promoted regulating a marijuana market and decried the drug war. This year, he has stood alongside former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively as he marketed a plan to operate a chain of "premium" pot dispensaries to serve a market Shively estimates could top $200 billion in the U.S. alone. And as if Fox could envision the profit margins of being a supplier to such a chain, he declared in June that when it's legal, he'll grow it.
"I'm a farmer, I can do it," said Fox, who owns a ranch in Guanajuato state.
Fox's opinion -- once an outlier in conservative Mexico -- has lately been garnering high-level support here. Two former presidential cabinet secretaries spoke out this summer in an op-ed in The Washington Post in favor of legalizing marijuana first in Mexico City as a prelude to a serious national debate. They join Mexican intellectual Hector Aguilar Camin and anti-crime activist Maria Elena Morera to push for change in the capital.
"Decriminalization of marijuana is not a silver bullet," wrote the two former cabinet secretaries, Fernando Gomez Mont and Jorge Castaneda, last month in the Post. "But it would be a major step away from a failed approach. Mexico City is the place to start, thanks to the example set in Colorado and Washington state."
Mexico City lawmakers have spent the month debating the merits of legalizing marijuana and other drugs; the debate culminates in a final forum in September. It's not yet clear whether legislation will emerge from the talks, but Mexican thought leaders are pushing for the city to act much as U.S. states have created marijuana legalization schemes despite federal anti-drug laws.
North of the border, 20 states now regulate the use of marijuana for medical purposes. When Washington state and Colorado voted last year to regulate and tax marijuana more generally -- adults may possess small amounts; growers and sellers must be licensed -- many in Mexico collectively rolled their eyes. And the question began to circulate: Why should Mexico continue its bloody fight against drug trafficking, while the massive consumer market up north legalizes pot like it's nothing?
Mexico has been fighting a brutal drug war -- under pressure by and with help from the U.S. More than 100,000 people have died or disappeared in the violence since 2006, as successive governments -- including Fox's -- have tried to dismantle criminal organizations, so far with limited results.
Mexico is believed to supply about half the marijuana consumed in the U.S., according to a report by the Organization of American States. Yet broad-scale marijuana legalization in the U.S., and subsequently in Mexico, may only have a "modest" impact on Mexico’s problems, according to Alejandro Hope, security analyst with the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness.
In a recent op-ed for the news site AnimalPolitico, Hope projects that marijuana may be legal in most of the world by 2025. The U.S. could legalize marijuana on a federal level in a decade, and he suggests that Mexico should follow suit. But Hope also notes that marijuana only represents roughly a third of net income generated by illegal drug exports from Mexico -- and that's without taking into account all the other income-generating activities on criminal organizations' balance sheet, such as extortion, kidnapping and piracy.
Political heavyweights in Mexico "are beginning to believe that it's not possible to avoid the debate," said Jorge Hernandez, who, as president of the Mexico City-based nonprofit CUPIHD, has been working for marijuana legalization for more than four years. "They prefer to be at the front of the debate and not fall behind."
After all, he said, "the cannabis reforms in the world are happening with or without us."
Top photo: Flickr/Blind Nomad
Bottom photo: Flickr/Newtown Grafitti
Aug 27, 2013
fight the legalization of pot. Probably the tobacco companies, and those who produce alcoholic beverages. Why, because it would cut into their profits. As for the advantages to the USA government, Good Grief, more money to waste!
The government has bastardized cannabis for years because big pharma and textile industries don't want it legalized. We have spent BILLIONS in a useless fight against it. It's finally coming to light all of the good qualities of cannabis. The difference between a government study and an independant study of cannibis is the truth, the government studies use pure THC for testing, which is a bad thing. Without the accompanying cannabinoids, THC has bad effects on people. It's time to legalize it and tax it, we can have the U.S. debt paid off in a matter of years and less people abusing alcohol, which is worse than heroin.
No different then prohibition of alcohol. and just as senseless and ineffective. Everyone knew where to get it, use it make it When its illegal there is no control over usage. Legalize, and tax it like tobacco. Right now spending millions in law enforcement, Corruption, jails are over crowded, many on marijuana related offences. Just from the financial aspect alone. Totally ignoring the medicinal value in a range of maladies. Add another vice to the list while your at it. Prostitution the worlds oldest profession. What complete act of huberous to think that something that's been around for all time can be stopped by throwing more money at it. Give up fighting it, use it as a source of tax income rather then a crushing and overwhelming expense at a totally ineffective attempt to control. Ill informed politicians call it a "gateway" drug. claiming that users of pot go on to harder drugs. That could be said about anything. Just as valid as saying breast milk leads to serial murderers. Bin Laden was breast fed and look what he became.
G'morning, coffee? In the past I have been actively involved in apprehending Drug violators, which, naturally, includes Marijuana, I have always been against legalizing it, by training and public opinion, but lately, after actually doing some serious research on Marijuana, I have changed my mind. Besides it obvious medical benefits it is a fantastic crop in both cordage and products that use it's fibrous quality it is also a tremendous 'food crop' as well as a soil regenerative. I remembered that as a kiddie It used to be grown commercially for it's many uses. The plots were only protected by a single strand of barbed wire, yet no one was lined up to sneak in to grab a few samples ?? Has our society changed that much, that we need this form of escapism????? Yes, I presently live in Mexico, but I was born and raised in Northern Calif. a Gringo OIrish guy. I have witnessed the drug wars first hand and it is not pretty.