Bolivia will again belong to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs after its bid to rejoin with a reservation that it does not accept the treaty’s requirement that “coca leaf chewing must be banned” was successful Friday. Opponents needed one-third of the 184 signatory countries to object, but fell far, far short despite objections by the US and the International Narcotics Control Board.
Today the Plurinational State of Bolivia can celebrate a rightful victory, as the country can become formally a party again to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, but without being bound by its unjust and unrealistic requirement that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished.” This represents the successful conclusion of an arduous process in which Bolivia has sought to reconcile its international treaty obligations with its 2009 Constitution, which obliges upholding the coca leaf as part of Bolivia’s cultural patrimony.
France offers the most recent sign of changing attitudes. While consumption and production of pot for personal use are not criminal offenses in France, growing and selling for other than personal use is illegal. So 150 to 200 “clubs” of growers operating quietly, and their umbrella association called Cannabis Social Clubs, have decided to come out of the dark to lobby openly for legalization.
“It is an act of civil disobedience. We want to impose our activity,” Dominique Broc, the spokesperson for the project. Without hiding his face, he presents a “cultivation space” of about 100 square feet installed in his home. “We produce to protect our society from the perverse effects of mafias that are entering the territory to produce cannabis (often impure) on a large scale to sell them to our children.” (This is a translation of Les cultivateurs des "Cannabis Social Clubs" ne veulent plus se cacher, an article originally published by the French magazine Le Point)