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Drugs: Bolivia

Home Department written question – answered on 9th February 2011.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth Labour, Coventry North East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 344W, on Bolivia: drugs, whether the Bolivian Government's amendment to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs sought to remove the ban on coca leaf chewing rather than to remove coca leaf as an illicit drug.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

holding answer 7 February 2011

The Government believe that to remove the ban on coca leaf chewing would legitimise coca production and, therefore, its effect would be to remove coca leaf as an illicit drug.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes0 people think so

No8 people think not

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Peter Reynolds
Posted on 10 Feb 2011 2:05 pm (Report this annotation)

But Mr Brokenshire, coca leaf chewing is deeply embedded within the historical and cultural traditions of Bolivia. This is exactly the same reason that you refuse to control alcohol under the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971.

Therefore your objection to the Bolivian government's amendment is a racist and hypocritical act.

Alun Buffry
Posted on 10 Feb 2011 2:14 pm (Report this annotation)

When India signed to agree to the prohibition of cannabis they exempted the Sadhu's and Jains that used cannabis as part of their culture and religion. The chewing of coca leaf is also part of the culture in several South American countries, and part of their religious practices. To ban that practice is contrary to Human Rights - an issue that the UK Government seem to prefer to ignore.

Also coca leaf chewing in Bolivia has nothing whatsoever to do with cocaine imported into and used in the UK.

Brokeshire et al, you are TOYING with people's beliefs and religious practices that have nothing whatsoever to do with you - to suggest that what happens in Bolivia will bring any change to either attitudes or law in the UK is a very poor excuse for your form of tyranny

We don't need you nanny's to tell us what we can and cannot ingest into our bodies and unless a person is doing harm they should be protected by law, not punished by it.

Nik Morris
Posted on 10 Feb 2011 2:46 pm (Report this annotation)

Who are you to deny an indigenous people their right to use a plant that grows in their own country? You must have a god-complex. Who are you, to decide on behalf of the UK, that another countries people should not consume a plant? There's something very BAD about this approach. I believe it's time to scrap this complaint to the UN. If you don't, I can only assume that your Ideology is corrupt.

Darryl Bickler
Posted on 10 Feb 2011 5:08 pm (Report this annotation)

The Minister sees the issue as black and white, either coca is either "illicit" or it is not; this is wrong in law and language, and is the same misunderstanding that also goes to the heart of most complaints about UK drug law administration. It is because he holds an incorrect belief in the notion of coca being "illicit" that his answer is entirely logical in his framework yet clearly fails to differentiate between any legitmate concern and careless imperialism. By refusing to afford a regulatory structure to persons concerned with dangerous drugs, they are effectively abandoning all control over drugs and that is why he is concerned about coca. Peaceful use starts with coca chewing and finishes with cocaine being available through doctors in a tightly regulated market.