(CNN) — Former Mexican President Vicente Fox has joined three other ex-leaders of Latin American nations calling for the decriminalization of marijuana.
Fox, who was Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006, said the current policy is clearly not working.
“I believe it’s time to open the debate over legalizing drugs,” he told CNN on Tuesday. “It must be done in conjunction with the United States, but it is time to open the debate.”
He pointed to how the end of Prohibition in the United States in 1933 lessened organized crime violence.
“It can’t be that the only way is for the state to use force,” he said.
Fox was mirroring a position adopted earlier this year by his predecessor as president of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo, and the former heads of Colombia and Brazil. The three former chief executives are members of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy.
At a February meeting in Brazil, the commission called for the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use and a change in tactics in the war on drugs.
“The problem is that current policies are based on prejudices and fears and not on results,” former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria said at a news conference in which the 17-member commission’s recommendations were presented.
When your country has to deal with thousands of dead and decapitated bodies on its northern border, a flood of guns pouring across that border, and endemic corruption within your police, military, and government, you begin to look past prejudices and fears and start demanding results. It’s not a debate about whether marijuana should be legal; it’s a debate about whether our policies on marijuana are necessary and effective. Our opponents will foretell terrible consequences from future marijuana legalization that run counter to worldwide experience and statistical probability, all based on the premise that what we’re doing now somehow works. Bring the debate back to them defending the terrible consequences present marijuana prohibition creates, and the need for another solution, any solution, becomes obvious.