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Former Spanish Prime Minister Says Legalize Drugs to End Violence

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #649)
Consequences of Prohibition
Politics & Advocacy

Felipe Gonzalez has joined the ranks of prominent global political figures calling for the legalization of drugs. In remarks made Monday at a Madrid event commemorating Mexico's 200th anniversary of Independence, Gonzalez said that legalizing drug consumption should be considered as a solution for the violence currently sweeping Mexico.

Felipe Gonzalez
But the violence in Mexico isn't solely a Mexican problem, Gonzalez said. It has much to do with the United States, and the solution could be to legalize drug consumption.

"Mexico is burying the dead, but it isn't just Mexico's problem," Gonzalez said. "The $350 million or $350 million is on the other side" of the border with the US. "From there come the weapons," he added.

Gonzalez joins Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos and Mexico's Vicente Fox as the latest current and former heads of state to call for legalization. Mexico's current president, Felipe Calderon, has also lent recent support to discussing legalization, though without taking the pro position.

Organized crime is "one of the most serious threats to security that the world faces," Spain's former prime minister said. An international conference on the matter could be "an option," he added.

One need only look at the experience of alcohol Prohibition in the US to see what happens, Gonzalez continued. "Look back and think about the organized crime in the United States, with thousands of deaths, that occurred as a result of the criminalization of alcohol," he said. That violence "did away with Prohibition, and the business, with its taxes, was made legal."

In that sense, legalization of drugs could be defended as a solution, Gonzalez said, although he added that "no country can do this unilaterally without an extraordinarily grave cost for its leaders." Instead, "there must be an international agreement that is agreed to by all" because if only one country legalizes, there would be "a growth in consumption with an unsustainable cost for political leaders," he said.

An international agreement to end drug prohibition is the way to go, Gonzalez reiterated. "I think that that's going to be the only path that we really have to confront" the problem.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


jj (not verified)

Is it not incredible that these former bigwigs find courage to swim against the tide when they leave office? Now that they have absolutely nothing to lose they come forth proclaiming sense and reason, something that was strangely unavailable to they when they were in the government and towing its line.
Wed, 09/15/2010 - 11:09pm Permalink
Ed Cup (not verified)

I am in Wisconsin and I gave given 100, then 70, then another 50 this past week.  I have also been commenting continuously on every CNN article remotely related to marijuana.

Join me!  If you can spare even 5$, please donate to prop 19 at

The change coming to California will ripple throughout the free world. I promise you.  But PLEASE don't take the California prop 19 outcome as a given. Help make prop 19 win by a large majority.  The ripple effect will be dramatic.

Obama enacted an enforcement policy ensuring people growing and using marijuana legally under state law will not be persecuted by the federal government.

That is what Obama will continue to do this November.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 8:47am Permalink
JNGII (not verified)

I've reviewed Letitia Pepper's misinformation regarding Prop 19 in the pasted text and PDF file below. Please post and circulate widely. Thank you.

-- Chris Conrad, court-qualified cannabis expert and consultant
PO Box 1716, El Cerrito CA 94530
510-215-8326 / 510-234-4460 fax /

Don’t Be Fooled:
Prop. 19 WILL protect Medical Marijuana Patients and Collectives

Here’s what Prop 19 proponents say in their official ballot argument: “Medical marijuana patients’ rights are preserved.” Here’s what its opponents say in their official ballot argument: “Proposition 19 makes no changes either way in the medical marijuana laws.” Both sides agree about this point, it’s that clear. So where’s the confusion coming from?

Letitia Pepper, for one. A “patient” and attorney who worked for Best, Best & Krieger — the same law firm that’s been advising cities on how to ban medical marijuana collectives — she is now trying to convince patients and collectives that Prop 19 overturns California’s medical marijuana laws. She is entitled to her opinion; it merits no particular weight in state Appeals court. However, she is giving out false information (see reverse side), and by discouraging voters from supporting Prop 19, she is working against medical marijuana, as well – just like her old law firm. Don’t you fall for it: This is a very well-written law. Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 11:57am Permalink
jakester (not verified)

this is the logical and intelligent way which is why it probably will not happen because politicians have been accused of many things but intelligent!!!!!! this will take out almost every illegal reason to peddle drugs take out profit and violence goes with it for sure

Thu, 09/16/2010 - 1:43pm Permalink

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