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

Press Release May 11, 2009
Media Contact

Ethan Nadelmann at (646) 335 - 2240 or Tony Newman at (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:

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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