GLENDALE, AZ - The former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox, returned to the Valley Thursday for the first time since 2012.
He was in town to attend a dinner focusing on economic partnerships in the Hispanic community.
Before sitting as the guest of honor, in a one-on-one interview with ABC15, he addressed several topics that directly affect Americans.
On the issue of tourism in Mexico, President Fox acknowledged that violence between drug cartels has kept many away. He says Mexico is trapped in the middle of drug wars between South America and the United States.
Fox believes it's time for the U.S. government to crack down harder on drug users and suppliers on this side of the border. "I see the drugs circulating everywhere here in the United States and nobody does anything to stop it. On the contrary the instruction to Mexico is stop them down there, we don't want it here. That's unfair," said Fox.
President Fox believes the other solution to stopping violence is to legalize marijuana in the U.S. and in Mexico. He said it should be up to parents to educate their kids on the dangers of drug use, similar to alcohol and tobacco education.
Legalizing marijuana he said would eliminate the taboo and change the supply and demand paradigm, cutting power to the drug cartels. And the money cartels collect would instead go to the government.
"$50-billion would be taken away from them and most of it would go to taxes, would go to education, would go to information, would go to prevention. So it's a win-win situation."
On the issue of Syria, Fox was adamant that President Obama and Congress not intervene. He is confident a strike would lead to war and the loss would be too great, using the wars in Iraq and even Vietnam as examples.
"You cannot impose moral behaviors you cannot impose even democracy. You have to work it out in dialog. That's what I believe in and that's what I believe should be done now."
Finally, addressing the topic of immigration reform, President Fox reiterated his long held view that America would be the first beneficiary of change.
He said it's time for Congress to pass reform and that it's already taken too long.