The former President of Mexico slammed the Trump administration’s attempt to enforce marijuana prohibition in a recent keynote address.
The former President of Mexico made sharp criticisms of Donald Trump and his administration during his visit to Oakland earlier this month for a conference on cannabis legalization. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was invited to give a keynote address at this year’s Cannabis Business Summit, an annual cannabis industry trade show.
Fox, Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006, has been a public advocate for cannabis legalization since leaving office.
The trade show and Fox’s visit happened just days after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions made headlines for writing a letter to congressional leaders requesting that federal medical marijuana protections be eliminated. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, renewed by Congress in May, protects medical marijuana businesses and patients from federal prosecution. Sessions requested that the amendment be abolished.
“That he is crazy. That he doesn’t know about history. That he doesn’t know what we have built with such a big effort and such sacrifice,” Fox told reporters before his address, in response to a question about Sessions’ request.
“I don’t know what has happened with this administration,” Fox said. “They are totally blind.”
The former conservative leader began advocating for cannabis policy reform in 2011 to address Mexico’s escalating problems with drug violence and corruption.
“We need leaders with very strong, profound, compassionate attitudes,” said Fox. “It is a real shame for this great nation… his crazy public policies that have nothing to do with the soul and feelings of this nation.”
Once responsible for helping enforce a strict anti-cannabis policy in Mexico, Fox now believes the cannabis industry to be a “sensible industry” and that ending marijuana prohibition will lead to peace by removing power from the illegal market and cartels in Latin America and the United States.
“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.
In his address to the crowd of cannabis business representatives and innovators, Fox said that he believes that Mexico could one day be producing 60 percent of the legal marijuana consumed by Americans, inhibiting domestic producers. He also made a call for open international cannabis trade.
“This product cannabis has to be integrated into NAFTA,” said Fox. “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. And he is willing to consume this product.”
In Mexico, the shift in attitude regarding cannabis legalization over the past few years has been dramatic. Historically, the country has been firmly against any loosening of cannabis laws. However, starting February 2016, the Health Department of Mexico, COFEPRIS, began granting permits to import Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s THC-free CBD hemp oil RSHO-XTM with a prescription. Earlier this week, current Mexican President Pena Nieto signed a bill into law that expands the country’s cannabis policy by officially legalizing the cultivation, production, and use of cannabis products with less than 1 percent THC for medical use.
In the U.S., the public support for legalization is higher than it’s ever been. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, 60 percent of Americans support recreational legalization, and 94 percent are in favor of allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Seventy-three percent oppose the federal government interfering with the 29 states that have passed cannabis laws. Last week, a group of bipartisan lawmakers reintroduced a bill that would reclassify cannabis and protect medical marijuana states from federal prosecution.