Former Mexican President Vicente Fox on Wednesday said the United States should eliminate all forms of prohibition to weaken drug cartels.

"You would take away from the cartels fifty billion U.S. dollars. You would really weaken them, so they would not have the power that they have today," he told PBS Newshour.

Fox said the United States must either legalize drugs or completely eliminate their consumption to stop drug violence in Mexico. He described choosing whether or not to consume drugs as a "responsible exercise of freedom" that people should be allowed to make.

"Other nations that have taken this step to legalize, like Portugal and Holland, drug consumption has not increased, on the contrary, it has decreased. In the case of Portugal, by 25 percent," Fox noted.

Drug violence in Mexico has soared over the past few years. Approximately 50,000 have been killed since President Felipe Calderon initiated a military crack down on drug cartels in 2006.

Mexico’s incoming president Enrique Pena Nieto has urged the United States to reconsider its current international drug-fighting strategy, but said he didn't think legalization was the answer.

“Personally, I’m not in favor of legalizing drugs. I’m not persuaded by that as an argument,” he said. “However, let’s open up a new debate, a review in which the U.S. plays a fundamental role in conducting this review.”

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