Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cocaine in Bolivia, Moderates, and Canadian Weed Decriminalization

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The International Herald Tribune has a fascinating article on Bolivia's difficulties with Coca. Newly elected President and Amerindian Evo Morales was an coca grower. He wants to allow coca, but keep the ban on cocaine. He argues that if Coca-Cola, whose name comes from it's former use of coke in its drink to addict people (hence the caffeine since coke was banned) could use it in the past, Bolivia can too. The real argument is that there are non cocaine uses for coca which are legitimate.
I think moderates can see this as a very interesting issue. However, knowing Morales is an accolyte of Venezuela's nut-left Chavez (and I don't believe it's only the Americans' portrayal of Morales as such, which makes me think he's a crazy lefty, though the US may exaggerate Morales' own left-wingginess a bit), I'm also a bit apprehensive and anxious about actually endorsing this argument. Not to mention he was backed on it by a group that thinks the war on drugs has been counter-productive. The article shows it hasn't, reducing enormously the quantity of coca grown, and thus cocaine manufactured.
From a Canadian perspective, this issue is likely to relate somehow to our own marijuana decriminalization debate. I personally favour keeping weed illegal, and its use criminal. I researched it, and there's only anecdotal evidence on it's benefits as an anaesthetic and appetite enhancer (albeit credible, and abundant anectodal evidence, not to mention it's hard to do serious research when such research would break the law somewhere along the line). Even if there were clinical proof, I recently read an interesting doctor's opinion suggesting weed isn't necessarily better at these things than other drugs, so why bother.
Lots of interesting food for thought, at any rate.

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