|Erradicating coca leaf bushes. But they don't stay gone.|
|Global cocaine prices haven shifted little in recent years.|
(United Nations graph)
The defense ministry explained that cultivation has increased in certain areas because they are near borders and have indigenous territories, where erradication efforts are restricted. But the defense ministry did not observe that Colombia will always have border regions and indigenous territories, meaning that this upward trend may very well continue.
|Legal and illegal drugs have followed similar consumption|
patterns. (United Nations graph)
The United Nations annual world drug report offers a mixed review of the main plant-based drugs: cocaine, heroin and marijuana. Global coca bush cultivation has dropped by a third since the year 2000, according to the U.N. (altho productivity per acre has apparently risen). But those gains have been counterbalanced "by rising levels of synthetic drug production." And some of those drugs, such as amphithetamines, may be much more harmful than heroin and cocaine.
|Thru 2010, coca leaf cultivation inched upwards in Peru and |
Bolivia, but dropped in Colombia. That's since changed.
The reports, once again, constitute a powerful case for legalizing and regulating these now-illegal substances. Such a policy change, which is happening slowly and contradictorily for marijuana - would enable states to tax and regulate these substances, require quality standards and enforce environmental protections.
And, the world would save a whole lot of money it now spends on drug law enforcement and encarceration.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours