MEXICO CITY — President Felipe Calderon said he would consider a debate on legalizing drugs Tuesday as his government announced that more than 28,000 people have been killed in drug violence since he launched a crackdown against cartels in 2006. [...]
Calderon said he has taken note of the idea of legally regulating drugs in the past.
“It’s a fundamental debate in which I think, first of all, you must allow a democratic plurality (of opinions),” he said. “You have to analyze carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides.”
Three former presidents — Cesar Gaviria of Colombia, Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico and Fernando Cardoso of Brazil — urged Latin American countries last year to consider legalizing marijuana to undermine a major source of income for cartels. And Mexico’s congress also has debated the issue.
But Calderon has long said he is opposed to the idea, and his office issued a statement hours after the meeting saying that while the president was open to debate on the issue, he remains “against the legalization of drugs.”
In proposing the debate Tuesday, analyst and writer Hector Aguilar Camin said, “I’m not talking just about marijuana … rather all drugs in general.”
It’s not a call for legalization by Calderon, but it’s a recognition of basic facts — you have to discuss all the options. You can’t bury your head in the sand, cover your ears and repeatedly scream “Legalization is not in my vocabulary.”
In response to President Calderon’s call for a debate on drug legalization, Norm Stamper, a 34-year veteran police officer who was Seattle’s chief of police and is now a speaker with the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and an adviser to the Just Say Now campaign, called on President Obama to join the debate on legalizing marijuana:
“President Calderon’s call for a debate on legalization is a big step forward in putting an end to the war raging in Mexico and along our borders. More than 28,000 people have been killed by Mexico’s drug cartels since 2006 – including 1,200 in July, the deadliest month yet in this drug war.
“Legalizing marijuana is the most sensible approach to stopping this border war. Cartels thrive on marijuana prohibition. Around 70% of the cartels’ profits come from the illegal sale of marijuana, which they turn around to buy guns that have killed thousands of Mexicans and that terrorize police on America’s streets.
“Just Say Now welcomes President Calderon to this debate. We hope that President Obama will join this debate to end the war on marijuana.”