Gil Kerlikowske, the former director of the Office of the National Drug Control Policy under President Obama attended a panel hosted by the Mexican Senate.
According to Marijuana Moment, Kerlikowske acknowledged that legalization of cannabis at the state-level in the United States has mitigated the “appetite” for cross-border illegally trafficked drugs. He also stated, “Tax collection is important because income is used for health and to enforce the law.”
“In other words, the marijuana consumer is paying the regulation in taxes, so this is a dynamic and emerging market. I think that frankly, although the taxation can be prohibitive for some people and for some producers, I would say that you still have to have a very robust regulation.”
Kerlikowske also shared during the panel that measures must be put in place to ensure that youth do not have access to marijuana products, and that policy makers should “do everything possible to eliminate the black market.”
“I believe that governments want to do things slowly—particularly because there is still research being carried out about marijuana and use and the problems it causes in brain formation or decision-making.”
He added that alcohol and cannabis should not be treated as “benign” products.