On Monday, former Mexican President Vicente Fox met with marijuana advocates in San Francisco for what he hopes will be a galvanizing step in accomplishing his ultimate goal of decriminalizing the sale and recreational use of cannabis in both his country and the United States, reports the New York Times.
Among those meeting with Fox were Steve DeAngelo, the Oakland-based executive director of California's largest marijuana dispensary, and former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively, who hopes to create a Seattle-based pot brand to be distributed and sold in the U.S. and Mexico.
Fox believes legalizing marijuana will end the violence perpetrated by Mexican drug cartels and America's war on drugs.
“The cost of the war is becoming unbearable - too high for Mexico, for Latin America and for the rest of the world,” Fox said after the meeting.
According to Fox, 40 young people are killed in drug-related violence every day.
Fox sang a different tune during his tenure as Mexico’s president, when he cooperated with U.S. efforts to squash pot production in Mexico.
Since leaving office in 2006, however, he has made his opposition to current policies quite public, backing two prior efforts to legalize marijuana in Mexico.
Fox also announced on Monday he had helped organize an international summit to be held later this month in San Cristobal, Mexico, in hopes of creating a plan to end marijuana prohibition.
Among those attending the three-day meeting will be Mexican lawmaker Fernando Belaunzaran, who will reportedly introduce a bill to legalize marijuana in Mexico this summer.
Fox said the bill would legalize adult recreational use of marijuana.
Fox is adamant in his belief that legalization is the only way to end years of violence and death at the hands of the illegal drug trade.
“We cannot afford more blood and the loss of more young people,” Fox said.
We must get out of the trap we are in.”
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