During a UN narcotics control meeting, Bolivian President Evo Morales spoke urgently on the issue of legalizing the coca leaf for local traditional use. He also pushed for developed nations to help halt the illegal cultivation of coca and the manufacturing of cocaine.
Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, is very eager in contesting that the coca leaf is not a narcotic when used in its natural form. It is described as a mild stimulant and is very much a part of Andean culture. The Bolivian government wants to rejoin the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime only if other member nations accept the amendment to remove obliged signatories to prohibit the chewing of coca leaves. The UNODC Chief Yuri Fedotov implied that giving the exemption to Bolivia would cause “a domino effect” on drug control.