Most Viewed Stories
Son. governor: Legalizing pot in Arizona a mistake
TUCSON — Arizona voters made a mistake in legalizing marijuana for medical use, the governor of Sonora said Friday, at least from his country's perspective.
“I don't believe in it,'' Guillermo Padres Elias said in response to a question of how the 2010 law might affect the ability of his country to combat the drug cartels.
“I believe that we are making an effort to stop the trafficking of drugs to the north into the United States,'' he explained. Padres said allowing people to use marijuana legally will only increase the demand.
Legally speaking, those who have a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana for medical reasons are supposed to obtain it by growing it themselves, having someone else grow it for them or purchasing their supply at a state-licensed dispensary.
But there are no dispensaries yet. And state Health Director Will Humble acknowledged that his agency has no way of knowing where individuals are getting their supply or even the seeds to start their own garden.
“We know that the factor of supply and demand is very powerful,'' Padres said. “We know that when there is a demand, there's going to be a supply. And we know that these type of substances bring violence.''
But Padres said he has to honor the right of Arizona voters to approve the plan. “I'm very respectful of the decisions made by other countries,'' he said, even with the impact on his country.
Padres said, though, he does not expect the Mexican government to follow suit. “I say this as a governor, as a parent, as a senator, a federal legislator.”
The comments came at the end of the summer meeting of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.
That organization, made up of government and business officials, works to foster cross-border cooperation and development. Topics this session included not just traditional economic activity like mining and aerospace but more mundane activities like promoting hunting trips to Mexico and dealing with the sale of Mexican real estate to U.S. citizens.
But the end-of-session press conference focused more on the issues that have been a contention between the two states — and not just drug trafficking. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer herself set the stage in her closing comments to the conference.
“I believe a secure border is essential to economic vitality,'' she said.
“Safety and security for the citizens of our region, on both sides of the border, play a vital role in attracting the types of businesses that Gov. Padres and I spoke of with many of the business leaders. But I also believe the issue of border security should not define our enduring relationship.''
At the press conference, Padres called border security “a mutual responsibility ... It's crucial and vital for the development of our states,'' he said, adding that Sonora is “the safest border state in Mexico.''
None of that means that Padres has changed his mind about his opposition to SB 1070 which Brewer signed in 2010. That law, some sections of which are currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, is designed to give police more power to detain and arrest those in the United States illegally.
But his tenor has changed from that year when he canceled meetings of the Arizona-Mexico Commission in protest.
“I understand the foundation of why this bill was passed by the governor,'' Padres explained Friday.
“She's been generous in informing me. We've talked about this thing.''