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." [More…] 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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