Mexico City, Apr 11 (EFE).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Tuesday that authorities are investigating the decision of his predecessor to grant medical-cannabis licenses to relatives of former head of state Vicente Fox in November 2018.
“Five days before the end of the administration of Enrique Peña Nieto, Cofepris (Mexico’s health regulator) issued 63 permits to sell products derived from cannabis, from marijuana, the majority for firms linked to the Fox family,” the president said at his daily morning press conference.
In 2017, the Mexican Congress voted to allow medicinal use of marijuana, giving Cofepris responsibility for licensing and regulation of the new industry.
Fox, 80, was president from 2000-2006. Since leaving office, the Harvard Business School graduate and former Coca-Cola executive has become a prominent advocate for legalization of marijuana.
Lopez Obrador, popularly known as AMLO, said the officials have been “discovering things” in the “basement” at Cofepris and that he only learned Monday about the licenses for Fox-related companies.
Even so, he did not hesitate to predict that the investigation will lead to a criminal complaint.
Within minutes of AMLO’s comments, Fox took to Twitter to denounce the incumbent president and deny the allegation: “Lopez, one more lie. I don’t have any cannabis license! You are a Pinocchio, long nose and lying.”
Fox is an investor in Paradise, which sells products such as CBD (cannabidiol) oil, hemp oil, bongs, pipes, marijuana grinders, and papers at some 70 stores in 28 Mexican states.
He and other Mexican business leaders say that the Aztec nation has the potential to become the world’s largest legal marijuana market, but AMLO has voiced concerns that legal pot could be a gateway “to other drugs.”
Mexico’s Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the legal prohibition on recreational use of marijuana is unconstitutional.
Yet recreational pot remains a legal gray area, as Congress and AMLO’s administration have so far declined to enact laws and regulations to implement the high court decision.