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  1. Colombia says rise in coca cultivation shows why it was right to stop spraying

    01 July 2015
    Other news

    A new UN study showing a steep rise in the cultivation of the leaf used to make cocaine offers fresh support to Colombia’s recent decision to end the aerial spraying of drug crops with herbicides. Justice minister, Yesid Reyes, said the report showed that the aerial aspersion strategy was ineffective. After spraying 1.5m hectares in the past 12 years, the total reduction of coca crops was just 12,000 hectares, Reyes said. Paraphrasing Albert Einstein, he added: “Insanity is to continue doing the same thing and expect different results.”

  2. Colombia to ban coca spraying herbicide glyphosate

    09 May 2015
    Other news

    Colombia has announced it will stop using a controversial herbicide to destroy illegal plantations of coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine.

  3. Last flight looms for US-funded air war on drugs as Colombia counts health cost

    05 May 2015
    Other news

    For more than two decades crop dusters have buzzed the skies of Colombia showering bright green fields of coca with chemical defoliant as part of a US-funded effort to stem the country’s production of cocaine. Farmers across the country have long complained that indiscriminate spraying also destroys legal crops, and that the chemical used – glyphosate – has caused everything from skin rashes and respiratory problems to diarrhoea and miscarriages.

  4. The problem of glyphosate spraying

    Pedro Arenas
    13 April 2015
    Article

    An article published recently in El Espectador commented on the two issues that underpin the Colombian discourse on the subject of drugs. To be precise, the government’s discourse is far from reflecting what goes on in practice, or the actions that are still being carried out in the country. Colombia is seen as the star pupil in complying with the United Nations drug treaties and it continues to do things that many other countries would avoid.

  5. Time for a Wake-up Call: An historical and ethnographic approach to the Regulation of Plant-based Stimulants

    • Pien Metaal, Anthony Henman
    20 December 2014
    Policy briefing

    The chemically-based frame of reference adopted by the UN Single Convention is mistaken in the culturally loaded and falsely “scientific” manner in which it was applied to different plants.

  6. Coca leaf: Myths and Reality

    • Tom Blickman
    05 August 2014
    Primer

    Many myths surround coca. Every day press accounts around the world use the word coca in their headlines, when in fact they refer to cocaine. TNI's Drugs and Democracy Team exposes the myths and reality surrounding the coca leaf.

             
  7. Reimagining Drug Policy in the Americas

    27 June 2014

    Latin America is now at the vanguard of international efforts to promote drug policy reform: Bolivia has rewritten its constitution to recognize the right to use the coca leaf for traditional and legal purposes, Uruguay has become the first nation in the world to adopt a legal, regulated Cannabis market, and Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala, and Ecuador are openly critiquing the prevailing international drug control paradigm at the UN. And now with the United States itself relaxing its marijuana laws state by state, the U.S. prohibitionist drug war strategies are losing credibility in the region.

     

  8. Bolivia charts its own path on coca

    25 June 2014
    Other news

    The U.N. reported that coca cultivation in Bolivia fell nine percent last year, and a massive 26 percent in the past three years.

  9. Global drug policy is still deadly and ineffective

    Samuel Oakford
    02 June 2014
    Other news

     If you actually read the treaties, while they do set firm limitations on the legal, "non-medical" or "non-scientific" sale of schedule drugs — limits that Uruguay, Colorado and Washington ignored when legalizing cannabis — they don’t otherwise obligate countries to penalize drug use. Even the 1988 convention, the harshest of the three, which instructs countries to criminalize use, still provides an out for states, allowing such laws only as they are "subject to its constitutional principles and the basic concepts of its legal system." This loophole has been used by the Dutch to argue legally for their coffee shops.

  10. Stalled Bolivia coca report delivers moderate verdict

    14 November 2013
    Other news

    Bolivia's long-awaited coca use study has found the country needs to cultivate over 14,000 hectares of the crop to satisfy legal demand, a number more than double opposition claims but just slightly over half of current production. Although current production is nearly double the necessary amount determined by the study, the results are unlikely to be put to immediate use. Upping eradication efforts right away would be socially, economically and politically unviable for the government.

  11. Coca leaf: A Political Dilemma

    • Sophie Ostler
    07 October 2013
    Policy issue

    For fifty years the World’s attitude to and treatment of the coca leaf and coca farmers has been controlled by the UN Drugs Conventions beginning with the Convention of 1961 which prohibited the production, possession and purchase of the coca leaf as well as cocaine. The assertion of this report is that the illegal status of the coca leaf is based upon a misinterpretation of science, first of all in 1950 with the publication of the misleading study of the Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf; and much later with the blocking of the publication of a report in 1995 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which made abundantly clear that the coca leaf itself has “no negative health effects”.

  12. lapaz_afpgetty

    Lifting ban on cocaine plant can help millions of lives, MPs told

    07 October 2013
    Other news

    An independent report, Coca leaf: A Political Dilemma?, commissioned by the influential All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform has urged that coca’s illegal status be reviewed and research conducted into the possible legal uses of the leaf which, it is claimed, could benefit the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people.

  13. eltarra

    Analysis: Colombia’s fight against the coca trade

    Obinna Anyadike
    05 September 2013
    Other news

    EL TARRA, 28 August 2013 (IRIN) - The Colombian government believes people should just say no to growing coca: those that do not, risk aerial spraying of their illicit crop with powerful pesticides, or manual destruction by work teams hired by private firms and supported by the security forces.

  14. cover-1

    Working towards a legal coca market: The case of coca leaf chewing in Argentina

    • Pien Metaal, Ricardo Abduca
    30 July 2013

    Modern use of the coca leaf in Argentina provides a series of examples that could contribute to dispelling many of the myths that have polarized debate about the subject over the last few years. Argentine coca consumption does not fit commonly held preconceptions on the subject. Furthermore, the social acceptance and legitimacy of the habit has created an absurd situation in which the sale and possession of coca leaf for consumption is legal, but the supply and wholesale purchase of it are prohibited, and therefore part of an illegal circuit.

  15. idpc-latin-america

    The drug policy reform agenda in the Americas

    • Coletta Youngers
    30 April 2013

    Latin America has emerged at the vanguard of efforts to promote debate on drug policy reform. For decades, Latin American governments largely followed the drug control policies and programs of Washington’s so-called war on drugs. Yet two parallel trends have resulted in a dramatic change in course: the emergence of left-wing governments that have challenged Washington’s historic patterns of unilateralism and interventionism and growing frustration with the failure of the prohibitionist drug control model put forward by the US government.

  16. brief40

    The illicit drugs market in the Colombian agrarian context

    • Amira Armenta
    31 January 2013

    The distribution of land and its unjust use are the major causes of violence in Colombia. For this reason land issues are the starting point of current peace talks between the Santos government and the FARC guerrillas. Remedying these structural problems at the heart of rural Colombia is the best guarantee of progress of the current peace negotiations that could bring an end to a half-century-old violent conflict.

  17. vin-mariani

    Why we took cocaine out of soda

    30 January 2013
    Other news

    When cocaine and alcohol meet inside a person, they create a third unique drug called cocaethylene. Cocaethylene works like cocaine, but with more euphoria. So in 1863, when Parisian chemist Angelo Mariani combined coca and wine and started selling it, a butterfly did flap its wings. His Vin Marian became extremely popular. Jules Verne, Alexander Dumas, and Arthur Conan Doyle were among literary figures said to have used it, and the chief rabbi of France said, "Praise be to Mariani's wine!"

  18. snus

    Coca and Snus: Sweden's self-defeating hypocrisy on drugs

    Damon Barrett
    15 January 2013
    Other news

    Tradition is disposable. Evidence is marginal. Economic arguments are not important. This, in a nutshell, is what Sweden said to the UN to oppose traditional uses of coca in Bolivia. It is opposite of what it says to the EU to defend the use and sales of snus at home. Sweden may have gained a small amount of favour from the US, and it may have further promoted its reputation for being tough on drugs, but it did so by contradicting itself, providing clear ammunition to those who would seek to enforce the ban on snus and ensure that the export ban is not lifted.

  19. morales-coca

    Major victory for President Morales: UN accepts “coca leaf chewing” in Bolivia

    14 January 2013
    Article

    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.

  20. coca-celebration

    Bolivians demand the right to chew coca leaves

    13 January 2013
    Other news

    A major international row with wide-ranging implications for global drugs policy has erupted over the right of Bolivia's indigenous Indian tribes to chew coca leaves, the principal ingredient in cocaine.

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