Former Mexican President Vicente Fox called for open international cannabis trade in his keynote address at the National Cannabis Industry Association this week. In his thirty-minute speech, Fox said he believed that Mexico and Canada could become the world leaders in both medical and recreational marijuana exports. To this end, he called for cannabis trade to be included under international agreements like NAFTA.
“Now this new, newly born industry, economic sector, is already larger in jobs, larger in sales … than many other economic sectors in many other industries, and it’s just the beginning,” Fox said. “Now (Mexico is) going to be an exporting economy, and that … should be one of the areas to negotiate in NAFTA.”
Fox told the audience that he envisioned Mexico providing as much as 60% of America's legal marijuana supply, rivaling domestic producers. In order for this to work, he explained that “cannabis has to be integrated into NAFTA. It has to have the trade potential of moving without barriers, without taxes and limits, only complying with the law, the consumer and his health.”
Mexico has already legalized low-THC medical cannabis, and Fox said that he thinks the country could be on track to legalize recreational use by 2018. The former president said that legalization was inevitable due to the the border shared with California, where recreational marijuana is already legal. “Imagine the border between Tijuana and San Diego, where one side is already legalized and the other one does not, which would be Mexico,” he said to the NCIA audience. “It would be crazy, that border. I mean, you cannot envision and sustain what it would be if one prohibits and the other one allows.”
Fox also argued that recreational legalization would also weaken the powerful drug cartels in his home country by providing one of their most popular products legally. “How different it feels to be by the side of business community members who are responsible people and decision makers, rather than being by the side of Chapo Guzman or all those criminals that kill, and kill, and kill,” he said.
Following the speech, NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith told MERRY JANE that he found it “inspirational to hear from a world leader from a place like Mexico which has been ravaged by prohibition and is now poised to take the lead in helping depart from that failed policy.” Smith also expressed his appreciation for how Fox “really pressed the need to think even beyond our own borders and to one day have a global cannabis marketplace.”