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“Ya digo cualquier tontería…”

3 June 2013

A few days before leaving office on the first of December 2006 Vicente Fox was quoted (or rather, overheard, not realizing microphones were turned on), back in November 2006 as saying “I’m outta here, so I can say any stupid thing I want”.

The former President apparently now feels he can DO any stupid thing he wants, too.

Fox’s comments on legalizing the marijuana trade weren’t, in themselves, stupid —

The cost was “too high for Mexico, Latin America, and the rest of the world — the impact on the economy, on income, on tourism, investment but also talent .. and 80,000 kids’ death in the last six years,” he said.

“All this because our neighbor to the north represents such a gigantic consumer market. We must get out of this trap, and here is the opportunity,” he added.

The assumption that “In Mexico we welcome this initiative” is what I see as bone-headed — “This initiative” being the launch of a corporation, Diego Pellicer, that hopes to be the “Starbucks of Marijuana”.

I suppose that coffee-retailer reference means Diego Pellicer seeks to be another Seattle-based corporation retailing products dependent on what Aldous Huxley called “sweatable coloured labour” … bullying producers and exploiting growers.

Vicente Fox, as everyone knows, was a Coca-Cola executive before entering politics.  Before Ccca-Cola — and during (and after) his political career, his family business was (and is) Grupo Fox… an agricultural export firm, and was Director of the American-Mexican Chamber of Commerce.

Untranslatable pun:  "I started out selling Coca-cola, now I sell roaches (more or less)

Untranslatable pun: “I started out selling Coca-cola, now I sell roaches (more or less)

There is no real support for marijuana legalization in Mexico (besides, a small amount of marijuana, or heroin for that matter, for personal consumption isn’t a criminal matter, though repeat offenders can be court-ordered to a rehabilitation program) and the number of regular users is quite small… no more than one or two percent of the general population, compared to 15 percent of the U.S. population.  There is no domestic market.

Supposedly, U.S. legalization would destroy the export business here (incidentally, not just throwing a lot of people — not all of them gangsters — out of work, not to mention the loss of secondary income to people who do business with those who do business with those who are in the trade). While assuming that U.S. pot growers are not hopelessly naive in assuming that USDA regulations of legalized marijuana wouldn’t be tweaked to meet corporate interests, I don’t see Mexican marijuana growers particularly profiting from corporate sales either.

Local businesses in the trade (ok, “cartels”, or TCO’s to use the favored terms of the U.S. government) go for intimidation and violence where there is competition among exporters. Where there is a monopoly, the export buyers depend on good relations with their growers — and the communities in which they operate. I can’t see a foreign corporation returning any profits to the grower communities that they don’t have to. And… the history of crop growing for export is one of monoculture. The marijuana-growing region being mostly a dry tropical forest environment, and marijuana being a plant that needs a lot of water, this would be a serious issue, not to mention the problems for biodiversity and food security.

The only interests I see met here are those of U.S. consumers, and U.S. corporations (and a few people like Vicente Fox who would stand to profit from corporate sales).

Fox, after all worked for Coca-Cola, not exactly known for non-violent resolutions of labor disputes in Latin America and is looking to sell to a company that models itself on Starbucks… not exactly the most labor friendly place either.

Quo bono? Not Mexicans.   U.S. consumers? Maybe… they’ll benefit from corporate marijana the same way they benefit from Bangladeshi underwear.

As I wrote before (Opiate of the Asses):

That Mexicans would prefer not to have a marijuana business may be an unwise move, but it’s theirs to make, the same as it’s up to Mexicans to decide they don’t want protect their forests or control the environmental damage caused by gold mining.  It is no different than the United States insisting Mexico buy Montsanto genetically altered corn seed, because there’s Montsanto “needs” to sell it.

The outsider may “need” marijuana or gold or tropical woods or a market for seeds, and perhaps may have a justification of why they “need” them.  But they are pleading “greater necessity” to  buy or sell or use resources aren’t theirs in the first place, and the pleas of “greater necessity” come down to simply this:

We want it, we’ll steal it, or kill you to get it, or hire someone to kill to get it, and ignore any of your social norms that interfere with us… because… we want it, so it’s ours.

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