From the comments section of the previous post, by Linda:
I think itâ€™s hard for people who have not lived in the Andean cultural region to realize how normal a product coca is, as it is marketed in the region, anyway. It is used in religious and hospitality rituals, chewed in the highlands as a cure to fatigue and altitude sickness, and consumed as a legal, ubiquitously available teaâ€“ which can be purchased in mass produced teabags as well as in loose leaves. The leaves do not have a strong effect (weaker, in fact, than caffeine). What Mr. Morales and Mr. Caceres are suggesting is the renormalization and stimulation of industries surrounding an important agricultural product. Following on a history of United States DEA planes carpet-bombing the mixed fields in which food and coca are grown for peasant domestic consumption, in one of the most misguided enforcement efforts in history, it is very sensible to engage someone who knows the difference between coca and cocaine as a minister for social defense.
In general, cocaine production does not occur in poor countries like Bolivia; if growers are illicitly farming coca for the production of cocaine, generally the leaves are partially processed into â€œpasta crudaâ€ and illegally exported via private transports to cocaine-producing countries. Cocaine must be addressed at the site of consumption, if drug enforcement officials are serious, rather than the diffuse sites of production. Or at least at the sites of production of the actual drug.