Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, will deliver a keynote speech Saturday at the third annual Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo in downtown Phoenix.
Officials say Fox will talk about the international climate for cannabis.
At a Bay Area convention in June, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Fox said cannabis should be integrated into the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Fox fought bloody battles with Mexico’s drug cartels when he was in office, and his support for cannabis is another twist from a man known as rebellious, said Erik Lee, executive director of the North American Research Partnership.
“For him to be kind of working for as a lobbyist or high-profile sales person for this industry, is just I think ironic,” Lee said. “But it fits his image as an iconoclast.”
Mexico, Canada and United States are currently renegotiating NAFTA.
Before cannabis could become part of the trade deal, Lee said the federal government would have to create a way to regulate it.
Fox has also said that Mexico aims to dominate the U.S. market for medicinal pot, according to the Chronicle.
Mexico competes with cheap labor, and it has used low-cost substitutes to compete in the U.S. healthcare market, Lee said.
“From an industry perspective, I think the question will be is: Will lower labor costs translate into a lower cost product that can compete on both price and quality?” Lee said.
Mexico legalized medical marijuana this year.
It plans to start legally exporting it under international law, according to the Chronicle.