At this years Southwest Cannabis Conference we were privileged to welcome former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, as the keynote speaker. I wondered why someone who doesn’t consume cannabis would serve as an ambassador for the cause? We were invited to a media conference first where he covered our questions equally alongside Telemundo, CNN andFox […]

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At this years Southwest Cannabis Conference we were privileged to welcome former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, as the keynote speaker. I wondered why someone who doesn’t consume cannabis would serve as an ambassador for the cause?

We were invited to a media conference first where he covered our questions equally alongside Telemundo, CNN andFox News who wanted to know whether Mexico would pay for the wall? “Fuck no!” exclaims Fox.

A local affiliate asked if he had ever inhaled? “No, but I do get drunk from tequila!”

Another local affiliate chimed in about his heroes? He pauses and states his heroes are, “Martin Luther King Jr. because of his beautiful rhetoric, Nelson Mandela whose resolve ended Apartheid, and Gandhi for his power through civil resistance.”

The former president has never consumed cannabis but, like his heroes, has always fought for civil issues where policy change is needed. He commented on current issues such as the NAFTA negotiations, the immigration DACA deliberations and legalization for both medicinal and recreational cannabis. By the way, It’s not just cannabis he supports legalizing. He supports full legalization of all drugs in the world. He is as much anti-prohibition as he is pro-cannabis.

“North American countries need each other economically to be at their best. When we support free trade we see the wealthiest nations, the largest middle class, and peak development of education and health research.”- Vicente Fox
Currently, trade between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. exceeds one trillion dollars per year. This is an extraordinary amount of transactions and NAFTA is crucial to this volume of trade. If the United States pulls out of NAFTA and Mexico decides, as a consequence, to stop buying corn from the U.S., it would be 40 billion dollar loss for American farmers. The debate over trade benefits will likely be a stalemate between Congress and Trump. The contention from pulling out of NAFTA could hinder other policy making such as tax reform. Meanwhile, Mexico and Canada will pursue trade access elsewhere. We should support our involvement in NAFTA in order to maintain a vibrant North American economy. In the same way, we must lobby for cannabis policy and a framework for legalization. Let’s kush things forward!

“Mexico will not pay for the fucking wall! Gorbachev didn’t ask Germany or America to pay for his wall in Berlin and the wall in China didn’t keep the mongols out!”
– Vicente Fox

Our need for a caring immigration policy is greater than ever. The recent DACA deliberations threaten to rescind permits that protect many workers and students. To DACA students worried about deportation, President Fox gave this message. “Paesanos, you have worked hard and been loyal to this nation. You have committed to it. You will prevail. Trump cannot steal your dreams.” He assured students and workers not to fear because, “You have many friends in Mexico and the USA.” It’s important to note that Mexico’s economy is operating at full employment and the workforce is more youthful than ever. They have a strong migrant spirit and if expired permit holders are forced to return to Mexico they will be met by an economy full of young professionals and opportunity.

In 2005, John McCain and Ted Kennedy introduced a comprehensive immigration bill that has never been voted on to this day. This bill could change our idea of migration by giving guest workers a voice and protection to come and go peacefully. It’s not fair to separate families because of our own lack of policy. Just as it’s not fair to deny cannabis patients research and medicine for the same reason. Let’s kush things forward!

“The government will not take care of our kids, they have no capacity to help us. We have to help our children as fathers, mothers and teachers.” Vicente Fox.

His most personal and emotional case for supporting cannabis legalization is that the government’s war on drugs has been a total failure. During his presidency, he dealt with the bloody expansion of the Sinaloa cartel. Despite billions of dollars worth of efforts from U.S. drug agencies created by Nixon decades ago there was no decrease in production of drugs or drug addiction. Today, violence in Mexico has passed 20 year highs. It’s impossible to force people not to use drugs or alcohol. For thousands of years no one cared to ban drugs or alcohol and suddenly 100 years ago we introduced prohibition. He joked that prohibition didn’t even work with Adam and Eve back in the day. Many nations do not regulate cannabis consumption including Portugal where they radically legalized all drugs in 2001 and saw a decline in opiate addiction, consumption and violent crime. Cartels wanting to bypass U.S. drug agencies pay top salaries for qualified workers. This creates a black market of opportunity for kids who should be excited about higher education and a legal career.

“Both Americans and Mexicans work for the cartels on both sides of the border to maintain a strong underground network that no government could possibly eradicate through prohibition.”
– Vicente Fox

If you’ve seen the Netflix series Narcos, you know that Mexico itself is not a big producer of drugs but rather a middleman between producers and consumers. The drugs are produced in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and must pass through Mexico to the thriving U.S. market. This is a huge problem that Mexico realizes they cannot stop. They spent billions to stop these drug shipments with only occasional success. This money could have been used to fund education and build universities. In 2006, Mexico celebrated its lowest crime rate just before the government ramped up Army involvement against drug trafficking. The violent crime rate tripled overall and rose ten times in many towns making Mexico seem dangerous by any measure.

“Cannabis in Mexico is very poor quality and its field grown with little care.”
– Vicente Fox

We know Senor, we’ve smoked it! This is the least debatable reason for Fox to be a cannabis advocate. Cannabis in mexico won’t change the economy but it will bring new jobs to a country that already has a larger manufacturing capacity than all other latin nations combined. But because of prohibition, they lack the technology and environment to grow quality cannabis and produce quality treatments. Phoenix Cannabis staff member Kristal Chamblee asked the former President about the Mexican supreme court decision that allowed the parents of 8-year-old Graciela Elizalde of Monterrey to treat their child with cannabis. And what’s the chance that other parents will be allowed this opportunity? Fox explained that without research and engineering we cannot advance medicine for children. It’s simply not available because of prohibition. Implementing new policy for these social issues will take time. As a believer in the power of medicinal cannabis, he hopes Mexico will open the first licensed production facilities and start operating dispensaries within two years.

Supporting new policy for these types of social issues will make us stronger individually, economically and socially. Support your city council and state action groups and help them to kush things forward.

* Disclaimer: Phoenix Cannabis magazine does not endorse consuming tequila and cannabis simultaneously.

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