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Update on Bolivia amendment to Single Convention

Martin Jelsma has an excellent write-up of the political maneuverings and hypocrisy regarding opposition to the Bolivian amendment regarding coca chewing. Definitely worth reading.

D-Day for Bolivia’s coca chewing amendment

Meanwhile the U.S. turned to its allies in the European Union, where especially the UK tried to rally support for the US objection. But the European Union was unable to agree on a coordinated position, and the divide only deepened further last week. The controversy appeared on the agenda of many EU coordination meetings in Brussels, Vienna and New York. Spain had made clear from the beginning they were not going to object; to the contrary, they would strongly support Bolivia’s proposal. Most other EU countries – all under heavy U.S. pressure to object – were undecided, and for several months Spain remained isolated in its explicit support, in spite of broad sympathy for their position from many EU officials in the corridors.

With the deadline of January 31st approaching, last week several other EU countries (Portugal, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Belgium, Austria and Finland) made clear that they would not be objecting either. Norway and Switzerland (non-EU members) also made clear they had no objection to the amendment. On the other hand, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy and a few others, said they still intended to submit an objection and made a final appeal to others to join them. Germany and Denmark indeed sent their notification on Friday. For the EU, aspiring to reach common positions on international issues, it was a painful process to see the divide deepening.

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38 comments to Update on Bolivia amendment to Single Convention

  • Ben Mann

    The best possible outcome is for Bolivia to withdraw from the Single Convention entirely.

  • Cannabis

    The Drug War Chronicle, Issue #669, had this story last week Bolivians Hold Coca “Chew-Ins” Opposing UN Ban, which has a link to the proposed amendment.

  • claygooding

    Chip,chip,chip!
    Since we are going against industries and coalitions with such deep pockets,all we can do is inchworm our way out of the prohibition.

    If it passes,does it mean that some day we might actually get to do cocaine the healthy way,chewing the leaves,as opposed to making dangerous drugs out of another of natures wonder plants?

  • darkcycle

    Sad to see Denmark towing the line. Sad. What happened to their embrace of personal freedom and responsibility?

    • Denmark has turned into a stupid place after a conservative administration with the support of our most right-wing party took over years ago.

      First thing they did was write an ideological document called “The War on Drugs” where they introduced lovely terms like “zero tolerance” and agitated seriously that in the field of drugs we couldn’t just rely on evidence. Which is why one of our foremost experts on cannabis, Peter Ege, now deridingly calls drug policy for “evidence free areas”. The same administration also argued that some types of harm reduction just couldn’t be used because they undermined the very foundation of current drug policy.

      In 2004 they started the crack down on the open hash trade in the free town of Christiania. Result: gang wars, innocent dead and wounded, and nothing much else.

      Then in 2007 they raised the fine for possession of ANY amount of hash below 10 grams 400% for first time offense. Second and third offenses would get another 50% and 100% on top.

      May sound REALLY weird that we jumped on the bandwagon with heroin maintenance at the same time, but that has really more to do with a horrible, true story of a (named) heroin addict here who was forced for economic reasons to oblige this 70 year old, sick pervert of a man who’s really a necrophile – but he “just” likes to give benzos until the prostitute passes out … after which he “drug rapes” her. According to my sources this true story had quite an impact on the otherwise gung-ho prohibitionists.

      • denmark

        Jesper: Whose side is Michael Veling on? We met him three years ago and got to chat for an hour. He was pleasant, a chain smoker, and he owns the 420 Coffee shop I believe.

        When I asked him a political question the expression and response was down trodden and didn’t sound hopeful. I do tend to read people and their expressions fairly well in person.

  • Maria

    Nice to see so many won’t be objecting. Shame on France, Germany and Italy, but not at all surprising.

  • Jake

    Disgusting… rank hypocrisy! Would love it if Bolivia tried to add Alcohol and Tobacco to the list of ‘controlled’ substances just to hear the politicians hypocritical objections…

  • Monsieur Corbeau

    I had little doubt my country (Germany) would object. Still it’s sad to see it happening. Perhaps it’s still possible to protest, though. Is it possible for a country to withdraw an objection?

    • Read the entire linked article. It’s quite illuminating:

      For example:

      Germany cannot accept the amendment but proposes further dialogue with Bolivia and “will give favourable consideration to the question of convening a conference of states to discuss the issue”. Convening such a conference is precisely what the other objectors hope to avoid.

      and

      Given the embarrassing hypocrisy and flimsiness of their positions, the good news for the governments that have so far objected is that even though today marks the deadline to submit objections, governments can still withdraw their objections after today in the lead-up to the ECOSOC and CND discussions.

  • kaptinemo

    I said it before and I’ll say it again: the South American countries that have suffered so terribly from the US DrugWar are now about to assert their nationalism via this issue, and by doing so result in the inevitable evisceration of Anslinger’s pride-and-joy, the Single Convention Treaty.

    And that will cause a hemorrhage of nations escaping it once they see the SA countries do so successfully.

    For too long drug prohibition has served as a convenient excuse for US interference in the local affairs of sovereign nations. It’s gained us nothing but well-earned enmity from people we should be good neighbors with.

    Well, it’s said that revenge is a dish best served cold. Bolivia is about to put a plate piled high with frozen crow under the prohib’s noses, and smilingly offer some ketchup to go with it…and the other SA countries and other nations around the world may well pitch in to buy some more bottles.

    A long time coming, and serves them right…

  • claygooding

    Agree that it was a long time coming,,,,too long.
    And because of the economy,Kerli can’t run down there with a big enough check to buy their governments off with.

    This is the war of attrition we will win through,because the big bucks that are spending a few hundred million too legislators to keep prohibition in place are not willing to pick up the tab when our tax dollars don’t cover the billions needed to continue rebelling countries participation.

  • vicky vampire

    Yup,The same politicians and talk show hosts whine about protecting the Sacred Sovereignty of America,Do not mind trampling other countries sovereignty when it comes to Drug War Sovereignty is completely forgotten,and they will say that’s OK cause we are protecting the worlds children from those Druggies?
    That is there same tired story line.

  • Dante

    Kaptn said:
    “For too long drug prohibition has served as a convenient excuse for US interference in the local affairs of sovereign nations.”

    Exactly! The War on Drugs is a strategic ruse, a trojan horse that the American government uses to engage in foreign espionage and to control their own people at home. Any and all who recognize this and speak out are quickly labeled with the old “soft on crime/communism/child pornographers/terrorists/etc., and they are usually subjected to the injustice of our criminal justice system.

    And now, the War on Terror is being used for the same thing. Just like the War on Drugs, it actually increases the very thing it was created to reduce, at an ever-higher cost with no end in sight. Study after study will show that the expenditure has been wasted, but the only response from our government is more of the same. To them, it is working just fine.

    I wonder what dishonest “War” our government will think up next?

    • Maria

      Let’s be honest. Right now the populace is being squeezed by multiple tandem wars. All are operating under one moral banner or another, though none of these banners are new. Also, if you look at the tactics being implemented you can see that these wars are nicely coalescing and complementing each other. Everything is symbiotic; the propaganda and language, the public safety angles, the confiscation of property and detainment of the individual, the coercion and pressure, the labels specifically created to identify new criminal “roles,” the legal weapons made available to “the heroes,” all are overlapping and allow for the state power (either secular or religious) to become stronger and have a longer reach. The populace itself is mostly cheering it on.

      These wars exist due to a simple if insulting conclusion. Adult human beings are not independent, self aware and self owning life forms but are in fact, born owned. As such they must be guided, saved and/or punished by the state, as the state sees fit.

      In our case, the drug warriors made a strategic mistake in explicitly labeling their hypocritical moral crusades ‘A War.’ It has proven to be a critical thorn in our favor. One which they are desperately trying to remove by redefining the language, “Hi guyz?! Syke! It’s not really a war, see. We’ve stopped calling it a war! Now you can to! KTHNX! BYE! Look! Puppies!”

  • kaptinemo

    “I wonder what dishonest “War” our government will think up next?”

    Dante! Shhhhh! As one of my old ‘Nam vet instructors used to tell me, over and over, “Never hand a fresh magazine to an idiot with an empty weapon!” Don’t give ’em any ideas!

  • DdC

    I have a cartoon from can.com in files I made about what would we do if Colombia started indiscriminately spraying 5 times the normal strength of Round up on Kentucky tobacco crops. Good thing we own the world.

    Legal Lies.jpg

  • DdC

    I wonder what dishonest “War” our government will think up next?

    We have to realize that to war profiteers, war isn’t a bad thing. So wondering what our Fascist politicians will do next, doesn’t really matter. Anymore than it matters what is prohibited. When your money comes from prohibition, it matters not what you prohibit. Only that you perpetuate it. Lies don’t exist in doublespeak. Kapt reminded me why I’ve protested every “police action” since and including Nam. Always some politician egging on some idiot with a full magazine waiting to empty it. Always some general cheer leading and always some mother’s heart broken because of it.

    I was wondering?

    Celebrity Stoners: American High Society

    Thank God for Hippies

  • Jim Rogers

    Thank goodness The US government still has a few lap dogs left.But truth be told,I’m sure it isn’t the people of Germany,France,Denmark and Italy who feel this amendment is a productive step for the Bolivian people, it’s their narrow minded politicians.

  • Sick........!

    Thud! Thud!

  • It is all just more of the treasonous inside the Beltway rule via the continuing inquisition’s Jesuit Georgetown University for the sake of what is crimoinal mercantilism for protecting cigaretts:

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2008/05/jesuitical-drug-policy-treason_04.html

    http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2008/03/it-was-criminal-mercantilism-to-protect.html

    With coca the safest, tobacco the most dangerous and the USDA concenr over coca at the time of the pushing of prohibition, these drug statutes are responsible for over 100 million deaths via the adulterated doped with unlabled burn additives cigarettes.

  • Chris

    http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/01/31/5961248-florida-judge-rules-health-care-law-unconstitutional-

    Judge Roger Vinson found the entire law unconstitutional, after declaring that its key element — the health insurance mandate — was a law Congress did not have the power to enact. Opponents of the law claimed that while the government can regulate the activities of people engaged in commerce, like the insurance industry, it cannot regulate someone’s inactivity — that is, someone’s refusal to buy insurance. It’s an argument the judge found persuasive.

    “It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause,” he said. If that were true, he said, “it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted.” If Congress could reach so broadly, “we would have a Constitution in name only,” he said.

    Judge Vinson rejected the Obama administration’s argument that no one truly opts out of the health care system, because everyone eventually needs medical attention. In that sense, the judge said, health care is no different than many human activities.

    “There is quite literally no decision that, in the natural course of events, does not have an economic impact of some sort. The decisions of whether and when (or not) to buy a house, a car, a television, a dinner, or even a morning cup of coffee also have a financial impact that — when aggregated with similar economic decisions — affect the price of that particular product or service
    and have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. To be sure, it is not difficult to identify an economic decision that has a cumulatively substantial effect on interstate commerce; rather, the difficult task is to find a decision that does not,” he said.

    So.. if this goes to the Supreme Court and is upheld, would this set a precedent for a new case against the CSA? Nah, there’s a drug war exception for that, I’m sure of it.

  • kaptinemo

    Chris, that is almost the same wording SC Judge Clarence Thomas used in his dissent in the landmark MMJ case of Raich vs. Gonzales:

    “If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress’ Article I powers — as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause — have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to “appropriate state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”

    and,

    “If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite”

    I am no fan of Thomas or any of his ilk; they’re all Statists to the bone, and the fealty they pledge to ideals like ‘federalism’ is only deep enough to the extant to which their desire for power over the individual allows.

    But the fact of the matter is the overreach by the Federal Gub’mint these past decades has gotten to the point where States are essentially provinces in a Federal empire…one that’s crumbling from its’ own ponderous weight and the cost of maintaining it has reached the limit.

    The Feds are broke. The States are broke. Bernanke and the Federal Reserve can print up all the paper ‘money’ they want to and nothing will change the fact that the more they print, the less value the currency has. The time is coming for deep, deep cuts in government spending. Once sacred cows like Social Security are being eyed by the budgetary butchers. And that means our time has come.

    Just as the alcohol Prohibition beast was starved to death courtesy of the Great Depression, the DrugWar can also be so starved by this Greater Depression.

    We have to beat the drum, loud and long and unceasingly about the money being wasted (boom!) wasted! (Boom!) WASTED! (BOOM!) in the DrugWar that could be going to unemployed, desperate, homeless hungry people. Beat that damn drum, day and night, the way we did with the word ‘prohibition’ so that just about every news article on the subject now uses that word. They use it because we did, again and again and again.

    Just as with alcohol Prohibition, drug prohibition will be overcome, not by appeals to reason, but by the most impersonal, implacable force imaginable: economics. Combine that with increasingly dangerous public anger at government waste, in a time of universal fiscal misery, and few pols will be so stupid as to try to urinate into the increasing winds of a building cyclone of public resentment.

    Our time has come ’round at last. Things come in cycles, and we are nearing the point where we were over thirty years ago. We had a years-long ‘recession’ back then, and the decrim movement was going well as judged by the many States lowering their penalties for cannabis possession. The time has come to finally slay this monster. This time we can ram the sword in the damn thing’s heart and brain, not a foot or a tail. Just by talking about government waste and asking pols if they believe that that’s okay when we can prove how much is wasted…to said pols and to their electorate.

    We’ve been on ‘short rations’ for so long, we’re quick, lean and mean, and the prohibs are disgustingly fat and slow when it comes to maneuvering. It’s time to dart in and deliver the final blow…

  • malcolm kyle

    Just as with alcohol Prohibition, drug prohibition will be overcome, not by appeals to reason, but by the most impersonal, implacable force imaginable: economics.

    …Beat that damn drum, day and night, the way we did with the word ‘prohibition’ so that just about every news article on the subject now uses that word. They use it because we did, again and again and again.

    Exactly; well said Kaptin’!

  • darkcycle

    If I had some Coca Leaf, I’d chew it in protest. (I suppose I could just drink two cups of coffee and chew on a houseplant…)

  • darkcycle

    Hey, Afghanistan was just called “a vertically integrated criminal enterprise” over at Firedog Lake:http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2011/01/31/the-900-million-headline-versus-our-afghan-policy-backing-a-vertically-integrated-criminal-enterprise/
    It is more and more like Afghanistan is just an escalattion in the drug wars. Thank goodness the good old USA was there to restore it to it’s rightful place as the world’s heroine supplier….

  • malcolm kyle

    Is it just me? every time I see this headline:
    Obama: Drugs Should be Considered a “Public Health Problem”
    I think I’m seeing:
    Drugs: Obama Should be Considered a “Public Health Problem”

  • denmark

    Geez, I got Denmark and the Netherlands mixed up Jesper.
    Brain fart, sorry . . . .

    Nice to read you kaptinemo, appreciate your opinion and value the strength of your opinion.

  • darkcycle

    Erk…my link didn’t work..

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .
    …….United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola…….

    On March 13, 1911, the government initiated United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola, hoping to force Coca-Cola to remove caffeine from its formula by making claims that the product was adulterated and misbranded. The allegation of adulteration was, in substance, that the product contained an added poisonous or added deleterious ingredient: caffeine, which might render the product injurious to health. It was alleged to be misbranded in that the name ‘Coca Cola’ was a representation of the presence of the substances coca and cola; that the productcontained no coca and little if any cola‘ and thus was an ‘imitation’ of these substances and was offered for sale under their ‘distinctive name.

    Wow, who’da thunk it? They really sued Coca Cola because it had no cocaine! Damned if you do and damned if you do something else. I’m going to have to organize a centennial celebration. That had to be one of the most significant, red letter days in the recorded history of congenital stupidity. The only difference is nowadays they just might get away with it. Might? I need to grab a 4 loco, have a blackout and think that one over, that notion seems pretty farfetched. Ooops, I’m fresh out of 4 loco, I’ll have to run to the store bootlegger’s. I sure hope I don’t get raped, I’ve heard those bootleggers play hard, and I do mean hard.

    This stuff is just way too absurd. I really am in a long term vegetative state and just hallucinating. This can’t even be explained by having accidentally stumbled into a parallel universe.

  • http://freedomofmedicineanddiet.blogspot.com/2008/03/it-was-criminal-mercantilism-to-protect.html

    The USDA crusade against Coca or cocaine in any amount particularly ironic was the particular medicinal use of Coca the USDA was to reserve its fury for: Coca as a Tobacco substitute! According to the 1910 U.S.D.A. Farmer’s Journal Habit-Forming Agents: Their Indiscriminate Sale and Use A Menace to the Public Welfare:

    “There are quite a number of so-called tobacco habit cures on the market. All of them are ineffective, and some contain cocain in one form or another, which at once indicates the purpose of the promoter of the remedy. Instead of eradicating what is commonly believed to be a comparatively harmless habit, there is grave danger of fastening a pernicious drug habit upon the user. Examples of preparations of this character recently examined and found to contain cocain and caffein derivatives are Coca-Bola, Tobacco Bullets, and Wonder Workers. The Coca Bola is marketed by Dr. Charles L. Mitchell, of “Philadelphia, and the Tobacco Bullets by the Victor Remedy Company, now the Blackburn Remedy Company, of Dayton, Ohio, while the Wonder Workers were produced by George S. Beck, of Springfield, Ohio. “

  • and in the 1908 US Congress Homes Commission:

    same url

    The U.S. government was particularly concerned about the popularity of Coca products in the Tobacco growing South.

    “In 1908, this campaign would take form in the following U.S.D.A. report to the U.S. Congress in a President’s Homes Commission “Report on Soft-Drinks Containing Caffeine and Extracts of Coca Leaf and Kola Nuts”, transmitted on October 21, 1908, U.S.D.A. Chief of Drug Division Lyman F. Kebler, M.D.:

    During the past decade soda fountain specialties containing caffeine, extract of kola nut and extract of coca leaf, the active property of which is cocaine, have been offered in considerable quantities and, due to extensive and attractive advertising, both as beverages and as headache remedies and nerve tonics, their sale has assumed large proportions.

    The first appearance of preparations of this type was in the South in the eighties, their importation following the success which Moxie had attained in the East, though this particular drink was of an entirely different character. From the South the demand spread in other sections and the number of products has increased until the present time, there are probably over one hundred of them bottled and sold all over the United States. The greatest demand in still in the South, however, almost every drug store, confectionery shop, and fruit stand has its favorite products on sale. The carbonated goods in bottled form are offered on trains. People of all classes, young and old, delicate women and little children consume these beverages indiscriminately and no warning is given of the baneful effect of the powerful habit-forming drugs concealed wherein. It is therefore small wonder that the prevalence of the so-called “coca cola fiend” is becoming a matter of great importance and concern. …”

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