Former Mexican President Vincente Fox Calls for Drug Legalization

The former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, tells Time Magazine he's changed his mind about the war on drugs, and now believes all drugs should be legalized.

"Prohibition didn't work in the Garden of Eden. Adam ate the apple," says Fox, 68, looking relaxed in a polo shirt — in contrast to his stressful last days in office. "We have to take all the production chain out of the hands of criminals and into the hands of producers — so there are farmers that produce marijuana and manufacturers that process it and distributors that distribute it and shops that sell it ... I don't want to say that legalizing means that drugs are good. They are not good but bad for your health, and you shouldn't take them. But ultimately, this responsibility is with citizens."


Fox says it's a shame California didn't pass Prop. 19:

"It would have been a great thing, a benefit to California, the United States and for Mexico. It would have been a first step."

Fox said his change of view corresponds to the changing conditions in Mexico. He says "every idea has its time."

There is a growing cost in not resolving this problem, in not finding a form of truce, a way to avoid the brutal violence that is hurting Mexico. The cost is growing exponentially ... I see important businessmen leaving and going to San Antonio, Houston, Dallas. We are losing in many things: tourism is stagnant, trade on the border, nightclubs, hotels are all stuck. We don't deserve to pay this price."

Fox says the drug war "cannot be won on the strength of arms."

"I believe that violence against violence doesn't work. It only unleashes more violence and a conflict of the size we have in Mexico," Fox says. "And it is not only in people's income, in investment, but also in the collective psychology. There is fear in the country. And when you have an environment where there is no harmony, no peace and tranquility, then no human being can make the best of themselves."

Vicente Fox is not the only former leader to change his mind on the drug war. Last month, Former UK Defense Minister Bob Ainsworth called for legalization:

The war on drugs has been "nothing short of a disaster" and it is time to study other options, including decriminalising possession of drugs and legally regulating their production and supply. "We must take the trade away from organised criminals and hand it to the control of doctors and pharmacists."

Ainsworth said he's only been free to speak his mind since leaving office:

"My experience as defence secretary, with specific responsibilities in Afghanistan, showed to me that the war on drugs creates the very conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade, while undermining international development and security.

"My departure from the front benches gives me the freedom to express my long-held view that, whilst it was put in place with the best of intentions, the war on drugs has been nothing short of a disaster."

Hillary Clinton will be in Mexico this week to meet with Mexico's Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa. They will discuss, among other things, "tackling Mexico's violent drug gangs." In other words, they will continue to have a useless dialogue on the same-old, failed policies. Too bad Vicente Fox wasn't invited.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Fine with me as long as the legislation (1.00 / 0) (#4)
    by beefeater on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 11:53:41 AM EST
    contains a declaration that drug and alcohol abuse is not a "disease" and if you F up your life you're on your own.

    because ALL people are the same (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 12:15:23 PM EST
    curious is you reserve that same vitriol for people who become ill due to, say, eating a cancer causing american diet?

    or becoming addicted to prescription meds given by their doctor?

    addiction is like ANY illness, it begins, it gets worse.

    very few things that afflict humans are NOT the result of behavior or what you put in your body, be it drugs, food, anger, you name it.


    "Every idea has its time..." (none / 0) (#1)
    by kdog on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 07:05:14 AM EST
    Yeah, when you're no longer in office and in a position to do something about it.

    Well said Vincente...day late and a nickel short is all. Guilty conscience nagging ya maybe?

    I won't be surprised when Obama has a similar epiphany...in 2013 or 2017.

    One step at a time. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 09:41:05 AM EST
    Pols that finally face reality, even if out office, are necessary steps in changing public support.

    HC visit to Mexico (none / 0) (#3)
    by Yes2Truth on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 10:56:06 AM EST

    IMHO, HC's Mexico visit/dialogue won't be merely
    "useless"; it will only serve to help legitimize
    the tragic, criminal mindset that lulls the masses
    into ignorant acceptance of policies that the Devil
    him/herself would deem too depraved even for residents of Hell.

    Does former Pres. Fox anticipate the (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 12:19:00 PM EST
    cartels will quitely relinquish their power and source of income?

    Hillary did say this: (none / 0) (#7)
    by someTV on Sun Jan 23, 2011 at 05:38:41 PM EST
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday pledged to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with Mexico in its violent struggle against drug cartels, and admitted America's demand for illegal narcotics and arms markets was partly to blame.
    back on 03/25/09 on her first trip to Mexico.  Unfortunately we continued to do this
    On Tuesday, the Obama administration pledged to send more money, technology and manpower to secure the border in the U.S. Southwest and help Mexico battle the cartels.

    Clinton said Wednesday the White House would also seek an additional $80 million to help Mexico buy Blackhawk helicopters.

    also in the article quoted.

    We are spending money (none / 0) (#9)
    by splashy on Mon Jan 24, 2011 at 02:44:04 PM EST
    Regardless. So, why not spend it on helping people get a handle on themselves, as a medical problem?

    Actually, most people that use drugs don't become addicted. It's only a small proportion that can't control themselves, and even they tend to have certain drugs that do it and others that don't.

    For instance: I have no problem with alcohol. I drink socially, but really don't want it on a steady basis, even though alcoholism runs in my family. Just didn't get the gene for it, I guess.

    On the other hand, tobacco is a big problem for me. I finally quit after several tries, but every time I started back up it was as though I had never quit, going right back to the 2 packs a day habit. I have to stay away from it entirely, and still sometimes smell a just lit cigarette as something that draws me.

    So, all addictions are not the same, and very few become addicted. Genetics are a big factor.