Turns out former Mexico president Vicente Fox is a flaming liberal.
As the keynote speaker for the American Herbal Products Association’s annual meeting at Expo West in Anaheim Thursday, Fox advocated for the continued social liberalization around same-sex marriage and abortion rights, and also for putting Chief Social Responsibility Officers in every corporation, as well as the issue most germane to AHPA members, legalizing marijuana.
In fact, legalizing all drugs, period.
“Nixon started the war on drugs. If you’re looking for a failed story, that’s one,” said Fox. “This is my main point – it’s not just cannabis, I’m for all drugs. I am an activist in promoting legalization. The founding fathers of this nation were clear – the government does not have the right to intervene in my behavior as long as I don’t affect third parties. It should be my own responsible decision. That goes for consuming alcohol, cigarettes or consuming sugar that is killing many more people than drugs. Sugar!”
Savvy speech, that. Linking the evils of sugar excess and marijuana prohibition in one sentence. That tipped off the most sustained applause of Fox’s address.
Fox, who was Mexico's president from 2000 to 2006, has a unique position in the war on drugs, because drugs are produced in South America and used in the United States. “We happen to be between those who produce it in the south and those who consume it in the north.
“Why should I pay for 80,000 lives killed in six years just to extend the drug reach into your country? In Portugal they legalized all drugs 12 years ago, and the result is a 25 perent decrease in consumption when it’s legalized.”
Fox said that the government and church establishment in Mexico remain firmly entrenched in drug-warrior fervor, but he sees changes afoot. “I cannot conceive what would happen if San Diego (California) approves marijuana but Tijuana prohibits it. When California moves, Mexico for sure will. I’m optimistic.”
And for those of you keeping score at home, Fox acknowledged that Mexico produces “poor quality cannabis compared to the high-quality cannabis produced here in California.”
Beyond the cannabis issue, Fox spoke economics and the changing technology frontier that will drive the “third Renaissance” of human development.
“The cloud holds the accumulated knowledge of all times, of all human kind, of all thinkers, of all academics, of all people like Steve Jobs and Einstein, all that knowledge today is at hand’s reach. I congratulate this community that has hunger for knowledge, that is eager to think, to discover.”
He said that it’s incorrect to think that the Mexican socioeconomic situation is one defined by “cactus and siesta.” He said that because of Nafta, the trading bloc of the U.S., Mexico and Canada represents the “largest economic bloc in the world” that represents $500 billion in annual trade.
He said corporations should look out more for community and encouraged partnerships between for-profits and non-profits.