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Nov 8, 2012 Comments Off Pat Dollard

Excerpted from The Washington Times: A top aide to Mexico’s 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 Southwest border.

Luis Videgaray, former general coordinator of Mr. Pena Nieto’s successful 2012 campaign who now heads the incoming president’s transition team, told Radio Formula 970 in Mexico City the new administration has consistently opposed the legalization of drugs, but the Colorado and Washington state votes are in conflict with his government’s longstanding 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.

More than 47,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón began a military assault on violent drug cartels in that country in 2006.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Pena Nieto vowed to continue that country’s fight against drug trafficking. The topic of legalized marijuana is sure to come up during Mr. Pena Nieto’s planned Nov. 27 trip to the United States, 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, which was defeated. At that time, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. issued a warning letter saying the Justice Department would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws if the state initiative passed. Mr. Holder did not publicly comment on this year’s efforts to legalize marijuana in Colorado and Washington state.

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