Special Political and Decolonization Committee
Bolivia, Plurinational State of


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The coca plant (any of the cultivated species in the family Erythroxylaceae) has been cultivated in parts of the Bolivian Andes since the time of the ancient Incans, and has played a vital role in the traditions and religious beliefs of the people of this land. Chewing coca leaves is a traditional practice in indigenous communities across Bolivia, and the consumption of mate de coca or coca tea is common throughout all sectors of Bolivian society. The importance of coca use has been maintained even to this day, as enshrined within article 384 of the 2009 Bolivian Constitution, which states that:

[t]he State shall protect native and ancestral coca as cultural patrimony, a renewable natural resource of Bolivia's biodiversity, and as a factor of social cohesion; in its natural state it is not a narcotic. Its revaluing, production, commercialization, and industrialization shall be regulated by law.

The crippling economic crisis of the 1980s and the soaring unemployment rates forced Bolivian farmers to turn to coca; primarily due to its quick economic return, yield of four crops per year, and the abundance of United States dollars available on ...

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