By Pedro Pablo Cortes
Mexico City, Oct 4 (EFE).- Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who governed from 2000-2006, this month will meet with international marijuana businessman at the Mexico Canna Summit to try and overcome the delay in regulating pot in Mexico, a move that could make the country the world’s third biggest cannabis market, according to what he told EFE on Tuesday in an interview.
“We’re missing the party, for no reason. I think that it’s already essential to move forward because Mexico certainly can become one of the 10 biggest markets in the world,” the ex-president, with the opposition National Action Party (PAN), said.
Fox, who is also a businessman, warned that “Today, the industry is already mature in different places,” particularly in the United States, Canada, Colombia and Peru, and so businessmen from those and other countries will be attending the summit on Oct. 19-20 at the Fox Center, located in San Cristobal, near the city of Leon, in the central state of Guanajuato.
International companies, he added, “are searching for distributors, for strategic associations, for alliances, and so it’s a very good way to do business by participating in this event.”
The Mexico Canna Summit will take place one year after the Mexican Supreme Court (SCJN) in June 2021, declared prohibiting the recreational use of marijuana in the country to be unconstitutional.
Mexico’s Congress had approved the medical use of cannabis in 2017.
But Fox lamented the fact that regulation in Mexico “still has a lot of shadows, many areas (where) … it hasn’t been regulated and, thus, there are parts of the industry that are incomplete, and you can’t unleash the industry, investment (and) technological development.”
The ex-president said that part of the resistance to legislating on the matter in Congress and regulating it via the Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) is related to the stance of current Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who is a conservative on the matter.
“In the end, that’s how it is and I have to say … he should do a survey, which will find that public opinion is no longer against this product, that public opinion is against violence,” Fox said.
Thus, the politician and businessman promised to provide “much information and much updating” regarding cannabis use in the medical area, with news about “the enormous advantages” that are resulting from various products prepared using cannabidiol (CBD), an extract of marijuana.
Attending the summit will be experts from TEC Salud, the medical branch of the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, and business executives who will share recent innovations that have been made after the medicinal legalization of cannabis in parts of the US, Canada and Europe.
“The idea is to give Cofepris the elements so that it can proceed. There’s no reason to be hindering this, the only thing that’s happening is that we’re losing investment, we’re losing jobs and we’re losing tax income,” Fox said.
The former leader admitted that “there are lots of fantasies” about the marijuana market, noting that “it’s not that panacea, that golden goose (with) … extraordinary and exorbitant profits.”
Even so, he said that “it will certainly be a very important economic sector in the free trade agreement” among Mexico, the US and Canada (USMCA) “once Mexico finishes with the process of legalization.”
“Providing figures would be a little too much, but certainly it’s a multimillion dollar industry,” he said.
With an eye toward accomplishing that, he said that he felt it was “truly inexplicable” that Congress is not expediting legislation despite the high court ruling and that Cofepris doesn’t have rules and regulations to permit taking advantage of the entire medicinal marijuana chain.
“The recreational side doesn’t scare anyone, it’s not about depraved people, drug addicts, as this industry was labeled in the past. It’s a relaxant, just as a good drink of tequila can be, taken in moderation,” he said.
The former president said that he became interested in the issue 20 years ago, when he governed Mexico, due to its safety.
Thus, he called on lawmakers to look more carefully at the “marvelous” part of the industry and not at the “dark part.”