The legal approach to coca has been one of the most challenging topics in the current international drug control system, due to the plant’s connection to both commercial cocaine and ancient Andean traditions. Yet it’s rare for a case related to the coca leaf to come before a European court, in a region where those traditions are rarely discussed.
The voices of affected communities involved in the cultivation of coca leaf, opium poppy and cannabis plants are lacking in the global debate on drug policy reform in general and were at risk of being excluded from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 on The World Drug Problem.
Producers of prohibited plants face conflict from authorites and the drug market itself. Their communities are stigmatized, criminalized and incarcerated. UN Global drug policy can change this by listening to their demands. Watch our video of the third Global Forum where producers shared experiences and knowledge and ultimately drafted the 'Heemskerk Declaration'
In a global meeting small scale farmers of cannabis, coca and opium from 14 countries discussed their contribution to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). The UNGASS will discuss all aspects of global drug control policies, including the worldwide ban on the cultivation of coca, poppy and cannabis, an issue the Global Farmers Forum demands that their voices be heard and taken into account.
NOS op 3 - Zestig internationale drugsboeren bij elkaar - in het Noord-Hollandse Heemskerk. Allemaal worden ze getroffen door harde maatregelen vanuit hun landelijke overheid, maatregelen uit de internationale war on drugs - ingezet vanuit de VS.
NPO Radio 1 - Ze verbouwen cannabis, coca of opium. Hun vaders deden dat al, hun opa’s en zelf willen ze dat het liefst ook hun hele leven doen, de drugsboeren.. De afgelopen twee dagen zijn zo’n zestig drugsboeren uit Zuid- en Midden-Amerika, Afrika en Azië in Heemskerk bijeen voor een congres. Vandaag komen ze met de slotconclusie, want ze willen een einde aan de ‘war on drugs’. Pien Metaal, organisator van het congres, over de 'War on drugs'.
RTV NH - Zo'n veertig drugsboeren uit vijftien landen, goed voor honderden hectares marihuanaplanten, cocaplanten en papaverplanten, zijn vandaag en morgen bij elkaar in het Heemskerkse kasteel Assumburg.
Haarlems Dagblad - Miljoenen boeren over de hele wereld verdienen de kost met wiet, coca of opium. Zo'n veertig van deze drugstelers zitten donderdag en vrijdag bij elkaar in slot Assumburg bij Heemskerk. De boeren hopen dat er ooit een moment komt dat ze niet meer worden bedreigd en opgejaagd en dat hun velden niet meer worden platgebrand vanwege de oorlog tegen drugs. ,,Erger dan dit kan hun situatie niet worden.''
Noord Hollands Dagblad - Zestig coca-, papaver- en cannabisboeren en vertegenwoordigers uit vijftien landen praten vanaf woensdag in Kasteel Assumburg in Heemskerk over de armoede en de conflicten die het gevolg zijn van de wereldwijde ’war on drugs’.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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, without being bound by its unjust and unrealistic requirement that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished.”
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.
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.
Last week, the United Nations voted on an appeal by Bolivia to amend the international treaty that prohibits the chewing of coca leaf. Bolivia won a partial victory — a tiny sign that the world may be ever so slowly coming to its senses on the insanely harsh treatment of this humble, mostly harmless plant and the people, mostly South American natives, who enjoy it in its raw form. (Ricardo Cortés is the author of A Secret History of Coffee, Coca & Cola)