Marijuana Legalization Gains Support in Mexico

Former President Fox is a big booster


MEXICO CITY — Ex-President Vicente Fox has been on the campaign trail ever since he left office in 2006 — not for re-election, prohibited in Mexico, but to legalize marijuana.

He has promoted regulating a marijuana market and decried the drug war. This year, he has stood alongside former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively as he marketed a plan to operate a chain of "premium" pot dispensaries to serve a market Shively estimates could top $200 billion in the U.S. alone. And as if Fox could envision the profit margins of being a supplier to such a chain, he declared in June that when it's legal, he'll grow it.

"I'm a farmer, I can do it," said Fox, who owns a ranch in Guanajuato state.

Fox's opinion — once an outlier in conservative Mexico — has lately been garnering high-level support here. Two former presidential cabinet secretaries spoke out this summer in an op-ed in The Washington Post in favor of legalizing marijuana first in Mexico City as a prelude to a serious national debate. They join one of Mexican intellectual Hector Aguilar Camin and anti-crime activist Maria Elena Morera to push for change in the capital.