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Canna Mexico World Summit Focuses on New Industry and Cartels

Vicente Fox (right) moderates panel at the Canna Mexico World Summit.

Vicente Fox (right) moderates panel at the Canna Mexico World Summit.

The possession of five grams or less of marijuana is legal in Mexico. Medical cannabis in the form of CBD (no THC) is also legal. However, Mexican companies cannot compete in this new market due to concerns about cartels getting involved. That’s why a number of U.S. CBD companies, including Freedom Leaf, attended the Canna Mexico Summit at Vicente Fox’s hacienda in San Cristóbal, Guanajuato on May 30-31.

Compared to similar U.S. events, Canna Mexico was stellar. Two stages – one indoors, the other outdoors – featured guest speakers, including Ethan Nadelmann (U.S.), Dr. Inbar Maymon (Israel), Derek Riedle (Canada), Julio Calzada Mazzei (Uruguay), Dr. Jorge Herrera (Colombia), Ana Maria Gazmuri (Chile), Jorge Cervantes (Spain) and a number of Mexican experts, such as Julio Sanchez y Tepoz and Mario Emilio Gutiérrez Caballaro.

Fox, who was president of Mexico from 2000-2006, started the proceedings with an overview of Mexican drug policy and his proposed solutions. «End the War on Drugs and the war on the cartels,» Fox stated.

The latter part of that statement is especially controversial, since cartel violence has been responsible for more then 200,000 deaths and 30,000 disappearances since Fox was president.

Vicente Fox with his favorite marijuana magazine

Notably absent from the event was Manual López Obrador, the leftist presidential candidate who has made the same point: give amnesty to cartel members and a place in Mexico’s legal cannabis economy when it happens. «You can’t put out fire with fire,» he said at a candidates’ debate on April 22.

Obrador is leading in the race that will be decided by Mexican voters on July 1.

In an interview with Freedom Leaf in April, Fox said he favors giving «criminals that are trafficking to the United States the opportunity to participate in an open, legal business.»

Another presidential candidate, former first lady Margarita Zavala, who’s running as an independent against Obrador and three other candidates, disagrees with Fox and Obrador. «An amnesty or ignoring the problem are not the solution to the country’s violence,» she has said.

But ending prohibition would take a huge bite out of cartel profits. Would legalization put the cartels out of business?

«Not immediately and necessarily,» Fox concedes. «But certainly it would be very helpful. It would take away a lot of the money they enjoy today.»

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