15 October 2015
The Friends of the Coca Leaf invite you to join the organisation.
There are two types of membership:
About the Association:
The association ‘Friends of the Coca Leaf’ was created in 2011 in order
a. To improve understanding in Europe of the Amazonian/Andean culture of the coca leaf, reducing the general confusion between the coca leaf and cocaine and the stigmatization of consumers and producers of this plant in its natural state.
b. To defend the consumption of the coca leaf and its traditional derivates worldwide as a contribution to public health with significant medicinal and nutritional values.
c. To promote the establishment of a legal framework for the distribution of the coca leaf and its traditional derivates for the personal use of the members of the association, using legal means and respecting the rules of fair trade, and in cooperation with organizations of coca growers in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia to produce traditional derivates, accomplishing environmental and health standards currently in force.
Between 2012 and 2013, the Association has facilitated the sending of small quantities of coca leaves from Bolivia for its members, all residents of a European country. During this period about 150 packages were sent, reaching their destinations without any problem. But in May 2013, the Postal Company of Bolivia (ECOBOL decided to reject any furthger shipment containing coca leaves or their derivates, referring to the Universal Postal Convention, which prohibits the sending of narcotic drugs. Thus ECOBOL, a state company, is violating Article 384 of the Bolivian Constitution which states that the coca leaf in its natural state is not a narcotic drug.
Since then, the association and its closest allies such as the umbrella organizations of the coca growers in Bolivia, have looked for ways to modify this decision. On three occasions we have organized meetings in the Senate in La Paz, with the participation of vice-ministers, deputies and senators, academic experts, representatives of coca producers and entrepreneurs, with the purpose of designing a dignified and sovereign export of coca leaves.
Recently, in June 2015, during the “Route of the coca leaf,” a delegation of the association paid a visit to Bolivia, where we had several meetings with representatives of growers, social organizations, parliamentarians and government representatives. All of them welcomed the initiative of the Association, calling it a great contribution to solving the problem of the illicit coca economy in Bolivia.
By early 2016 the Association plans to carry out a common action with coca leaf growers to enable the distribution of coca leaves to the members of the Association.
The purpose of this action will be to enable the organisation of a Global ‘Day of Chewing Coca Leaves’ during the forthcoming UN General Assembly Special Session on Drug Policies that will take place from 19 to 21 April, 2016.
This action will be based on the defense of the right to consume coca leaves for health reasons, the need to challenge a ban on an age old cultural tradition that has never caused harm to anyone, as well as the desire to offer a legal market to coca growers, underlining the fact that governments, bound by international drug policy based on incorrect assumptions and principles, continuously fail to reduce both the illicit economy and the poverty of the coca growers in South America.
For questions, please contact us.
Board and Staff of the Association ‘Friends of the Coca Leaf’