Home » Side event: Licit uses of coca crops in Colombia

Side event: Licit uses of coca crops in Colombia

Organised by the Stichting International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service with the support of Colombia and the Open Society Foundations.

The reflections start from the fact that Colombia has more than 200,000 ha. of coca. Eradication actions have reached their limit. That’s why this event tries to think of new ideas on how to implement changes.  We are working with people from the grassroots to think about these examples.

Gloria Miranda – Colombian drug policy: It is a pleasure to participate in this event. As you know we are discussing the regulation of the adult use of cannabis and of course of the coca leaf. Of course, it is impossible to talk about total peace without talking about other models for the coca leaf. Colombia recognizes that coca has many positive things. It is ancestral, and in addition, it has multiple potentialities for the industry and can contribute to territorial development and improve social vulnerabilities. Coca is a heritage. The new drug policy has 8 aspects. One of them is to advance towards regulatory models for coca leave. It is not cocaine; it is the regulation of the coca leaf. Also, the adult use of cannabis and the improvement of the medical cannabis market. We want to promote the industrialization of the coca leaf. And end the stigmatization of the coca leaf and the rural communities that grow it.

Message from Jorge Londoño – Director of SENA Colombia.

Dora Troyano – Coca for Peace Foundation: The coca plant has 2 species from which hydrochloride is synthesized. Ecuador and Colombia have more restrictions than the other Andean countries. We need the opportunity to create a regulatory framework to take advantage of coca crops. More than 100 families grow coca leaf. But there are few possibilities for industrialization. We have developed experiments to show the effectiveness of the products. We have developed products that can boost the legal market. It requires a lot of leaf and they do not test positive for cocaine samples. The versatility of the coca leaf, as well as the experience of Peru and Bolivia, makes us think that a regulation cannot leave out the idea of generating employment and mechanisms of social control and community articulation to take advantage of the production. In order to develop this alternative, land titling, bank financing, and state assistance are indispensable. we need the academy to produce academic information to provide rigorous arguments to contribute to decriminalization. More than anecdotal evidence. We need producers trained in good agricultural practices, and advances in environmentally sustainable production. We cannot commercialize coca leaf products and food. But there is a task to buy the products you see in the showcases.

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