|Coca leaves and other products for sale on a Bogotá plaza. The salesman said these were imported from Peru.|
|Altho technically banned, Colombia's indigenous peoples|
cultivate and market coca leaf products.
The prohibition seems wildly unfair. After all, even during U.S. alcohol Prohibition, grapes were still legal (and were marketed with instructions about how to turn them into an inebriating liquid). Coca leaves contain such a tiny amount of the cocaine alkaloid that they give users just a slight pick-me-up.
|Vendors claim that coca products |
cure all manner of ailments.
It's a tiny crack in the drug prohibitionism, and it begins to repair a huge historical double standard. After all, the same 1961 treaty which prohibited indigenous peoples' ancient traditions also included a specific exception for the Coca Cola Company, which adds a cocaine-free coca leaf extract to its soft drink.
Taking a Courageous Stand Against...Leaves
Good Riddance to 'La Mata que Mata!'
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours