- Perdue strategy: Run against Reid, Obama, Pelosi
- White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming
- ‘Operation Normandy’ set to send 3,500 volunteers to border to ‘stop an invasion’
- Netanyahu’s spokesman: Safe to fly to Israel
- Oregon vandals smear cars with doughnuts, pastries, chocolate bars
- Obama’s ‘Katrina moment’ leaves his favorability factor at 42 percent
- Feds tout nearly 200 arrests, $625K in seized cash in Texas border crackdown
- Joy Behar: Sarah Palin should be ‘turning letters over on some game show’
- Rhino poacher in South Africa sentenced to 77 years in jail
- John Kerry defies FAA and flies to Israel to talk peace
Mexican pot plans go up in a puff of smoke
2 states’ votes change the rules
A top aide to Mexican President-elect Enrique Pena Nieto says votes to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state will force the Mexican government to rethink its efforts at trying to halt marijuana smuggling across the southwestern border.
Luis Videgaray, former general coordinator of Mr. Pena Nieto's presidential campaign this year and now head of the transition team, told Radio Formula 970 in Mexico City that the new administration has consistently opposed the legalization of drugs, and the Colorado and Washington votes conflict with his government's long-standing and costly efforts to eradicate the cultivation and smuggling of marijuana.
"These important modifications change somewhat the rules of the game in the relationship with the United States," Mr. Videgaray said. "I think we have to carry out a review of our joint policies in regard to drug trafficking and security in general.
"Obviously, we can't handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States, at least in part of the United States, it now has a different status," he said.
Mr. Videgaray is expected to play a significant role in the Pena Nieto administration. The president-elect, who will assume office Dec. 1, said in September that Mr. Videgaray would head the team that will set policy direction for the new government.
More than 47,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon began a military assault on violent drug cartels in 2006. Many of the dead have included Mexican military personnel and police.
During his presidential campaign, Mr. Pena Nieto vowed to continue Mexico's fight against drug trafficking, although he said he would revise strategies and work to reduce violence. Some U.S. policymakers have expressed concerns that his Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) had been known for allowing drug-trafficking cartels semiautonomous control of certain regions.
The topic of legalized marijuana is sure to come up during Mr. Pena Nieto's planned Nov. 27 trip to the U.S., when he will visit the White House.
The Obama administration has been silent on the issue of legalized recreational marijuana, although it vigorously and publicly opposed a similar measure in 2010 in California that ultimately was defeated. At that time, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. issued a warning letter saying the Justice Department would enforce federal drug laws even if the state initiative passed.
In the letter, Mr. Holder said the Justice Department remained committed to provisions of the Controlled Substances Act in all states, "even if such activities are permitted under state law."
In the letter, he argued that legalizing recreational marijuana would be a "significant impediment" to federal efforts with state and local law enforcement authorities to target drug traffickers.
Mr. Holder did not publicly comment on this year's efforts to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state.
Asked about the Colorado and Washington state votes, Justice Department spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said only: "The department's enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule 1 controlled substance. We are reviewing the ballot initiatives and have no additional comment at this time."
The White House has issued no comment on Mr. Videgaray's remarks.
Officials at the Mexican Embassy in Washington declined to comment, noting that the Pena Nieto administration is part of the PRI while they belong to the Partido Accion Nacional, or the PAN.
The legalization laws allow those 21 and older in Washington state to purchase an ounce of marijuana from a licensed retailer and in Colorado to possess an ounce of the drug and grow as many as six plants in private. The Colorado law is scheduled to go into effect in June. The Washington law starts in December 2013.
As a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is deemed to have a high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use. Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD and Ecstasy.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- With bombs away, drug traffickers and illegal immigrants make their play
- Medical-device company exec admits to bilking shareholders of $400M
- Justice Dept: Florida's disabled children unnecessarily put in nursing facilities
- Philadelphia mobster sentenced to 11 years as city cleans up crime
- Man gets 11 years in Philadelphia mob crackdown
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Retailer pays a price for getting too close to Obama
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- IRS seeks help destroying another 3,200 computer hard drives
- Beretta moving to Tennessee over Maryland gun laws
- D.C. appeals panel deals big blow to Obamacare subsidies
- 'Straight White Guy Festival' supposedly set for Ohio park
- HURT: The cost of 'free' water in Detroit
- EDITORIAL: Obamacare in intensive care
- Pentagon team dispatched to Ukraine amid crisis with Russia
- Contrasting judgments on Obama's health care hours apart; appeals court calls subsidies unlawful
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq