Vicente Fox was the last Mexican president, before the country was overrun by the ghastly drug cartel violence that plagues it to this day. He’s also a highly successful businessman — a Horatio Alger success story who rose from driving a Coca-Cola delivery truck to overseeing all of the soda conglomerate’s Latin America operations; a sort of Mexican Dream.
Since Fox told a High Times interviewer in the summer of 2013 that all drugs should be legalized — starting with marijuana, the former president has been pushing a pro-business, “personal responsibility” argument for decriminalization while also trolling Donald Trump.
Now, at 75, with a lifetime of achievement behind him, Fox is best known for being Trump’s most prominent internet troll, plaguing the U.S. president on social media.
Case in point: a four-minute video posted to YouTube features Fox speaking “as the former president of Mexico” to Trump — “the current president of the Electoral College of the United States.”
Fox has been needling Trump online in this manner since early 2016, when he went on television to declare that Mexico would never pay for “that f*cking wall” — the promised border fence along the America’s 1,933-mile southern border with Mexico.
Building the wall and sticking Mexico with the bill — anywhere between $25 billion and $67 billion depending on who you ask — was a central theme of Trump’s populist presidential campaign. For Fox, the wall has become a bête noire and a raison d’être. Agitating against the “racist monument,” which is also unpopular with a majority of Americans — more Americans than the popular majority who voted against Trump — has helped Fox return to public relevance.
Fox visited the Bay Area in 2013, visiting a marijuana expo in San Francisco to beg Californians to pursue the obvious solution to cartel violence and legalize marijuana — they did.
The morning after a fiery tweet in June, Fox returned to the Bay — flying to Oakland, California to be feted and lauded by several hundred cannabis entrepreneurs and investors at the National Cannabis Industry Association event — and to compare Trump to Hitler, Napoleon and Fox’s own personal demons: the late former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (a frequent socialist foil to the die-hard capitalist Fox) and Chavez’s successor, Nicolas Maduro.
“In times before, this audience was not dressed like it is today,” said Fox, striking a casual note (for him) in baggy khakis, a blue jacket with shirt open at the neck, and slip-on shoes. Most of his audience were in more familiar business attire. “How different it feels to be on the side of the business community, with responsible decision makers, rather than to be on the side of Chapo Guzman and all those criminals, who kill, and kill and kill.”
At the same time, legalization has meant a very bad decade for Mexican marijuana farmers. Ever since U.S. states began legalizing recreational marijuana for all adults over 21, demand for their crops has evaporated, replaced by domestic cannabis. For most Americans, even those who will never touch a joint in their lives, it’s a legalization success story.
Fox, however, would like to reverse the trend and send marijuana production back down south — to make Americans’ marijuana Mexican again.
Estimates of the American appetite for marijuana vary wildly. According to the state of California, weed is worth about $7 billion. If Fox has his way, Mexican farmers will grow $4 billion worth — just as they grow most of America’s tomatoes and lettuce and everything else that goes into a Trump Tower taco bowl. But they’ll do it legitimately, in a regulated and taxed intra-continental market — a sort of NAFTA for cannabis.
Just when and how this could happen is unclear. Both Mexico and Canada have legalized marijuana for medical purposes — in Canada, the drug is grown and distributed under the watch of the federal health agency — but all three North American countries are signatories to international treaties that declare cannabis a dangerous narcotic drug.
And, of course, marijuana remains illegal under U.S. federal law. Federal Customs and Border Patrol agents have denied Canadians and Mexicans entry into the U.S. solely for admitting to smoking weed.
For Fox’s grand weed vision to come to fruition, his presidential nemesis Trump will almost certainly have to go because NAFTA and marijuana are both Trump Administration bogeymen: Trump has repeatedly called for the U.S. to exit free trade deals like NAFTA.
And Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made it clear that he wants to use the U.S. Justice Department to crack down on all sectors of the American marijuana industry. On May 1, Sessions (unsuccessfully) lobbied Congress to allow the DOJ to pursue cases against law-abiding medical-marijuana providers. Sessions is declaring open war on “transnational drug organizations,” while doing everything he can to put cannabis back in their portfolio.
Until Trump does leave, Fox is happy to preach the Mexican version of the resist gospel, with just a hint of 4chan flavor, but as long as Trump is in power, cannabis industry people — and Muslims, and Mexicans, gay people and women — are the choir he’ll be preaching to.