Passage of Marijuana Laws Hurt US Drug War Cred, Mexico President Says

The message to the US from Latin America is simple: Practice what you preach. Mexican President Felipe Calderón says the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in two U.S. states limits that country’s ‘‘moral authority’’ to ask other nations to combat or restrict illegal drug trafficking. Calderón says the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado represents a fundamental change that requires the rethinking of public policy in the entire Western Hemisphere. Calderón spoke in an interview with the newspaper Milenio that was published Tuesday.

Calderón was joined on Monday by leaders of Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica in calling for the Organization of American States to study the impact of the new laws and saying the United Nations’ General Assembly should hold a special session on the prohibition of drugs by 2015 at the latest. The president will end his term in office on December 1st. Calderón has been one of the most vocal opponents of the legalization or decriminalization of drugs as an alternative to fighting the war on drugs head on, since he began the offensive against the drug cartels in 2006, which has no entirely stopped violence that has left thousands dead. However, in the last few months the president has said that countries should revisit their anti-drug policies. Calderón has remained vocal on the subject even making it a key theme of his last speech in front of the United Nations general assembly where he asked drug consumer nations to put more emphasis on fighting narco-trafficing or analyze other possible solutions as alternatives.

“Yes, its good that it continues to be prohibited at the federal level, and that is something the Americans will have to resolve,” the president said to Milenioit. “It’s important to shed light on themes that I think are historic change in politics.” Colorado and Washington OK’d the use of Marijuana use for recreational purposes on November 6, the same day President Barack Obama was re-elected president. Obama has said the US has continued a collaborative relationship with Mexico in the fight against the spread of violence from drug cartels in Mexico and Central America.

Mexico insists the violence from cartels has increased largely because drug consumption and arms smuggled from the United States. “Why do criminals kill so cruelly and with so much evil? Why do they take so many risks? Because they are that dumb, that violent, that savage? It’s their ambition that then causes an increase in drug prices and demand from the consumer markets,” the president said. Mexican drug cartels are the principal providers of marijuana in the United States.

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