Argument: Coca can be used in a variety products
- Debate: Legality of coca chewing - pro argument.
"Coca yes, Cocaine no?" Drugs and Conflict Debate Papers. 2006: "The most famous non-pharmaceutical industrial uses are in Vin Mariani and Coca-Cola. Both opened up large markets as natural stimulants used in different strata of society. Coca-Cola changed its formula in 1906, using the coca leaf as a flavouring agent without alkaloids; this was later made legitimate under Article 27 of the Single Convention of 1961. The separation of the cocaine alkaloid from the leaf, producing a substance that is used to flavour the drink without the alkaloid, is one of the best-kept industrial secrets in the history of the world. There are many other products in both Bolivia and Peru that have a modest domestic market. The supply ranges from products that seek to take advantage of the leaf’s nutritional value — although many of its valuable components, such as calcium and certain vitamins, can be obtained as well or better from other plants — and products that emphasise its energising value (syrups and teas) or anaesthetic properties (salves), etc. There are also cosmetic products (toothpaste and shampoo). There are various products whose scientific basis is not clearly proven, and there are no clear indications that coca is better than other ingredients for the preparation of the final product — although this could also be due to the stigma attached to coca, as well as the limited availability of technological means."
"Bolivia's Knot: No to Cocaine, but Yes to Coca." The New York Times. February 12th, 2006: "If there's one thing the international community should do, if only out of deference because he won the election, is to take seriously his arguments that coca products have a place in the international commodities market," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an independent policy group that says the war on drugs has been counterproductive.
At a recent coca fair in La Paz, two dozen small Bolivian and Peruvian companies displayed coca-based products they said they hopeed would one day be accepted worldwide. Besides the soap, shampoo and toothpaste, there were digestive potions pitched as calcium and iron supplements, or, alternatively, a cure for balding or as a diet aid. And there was a light green flour, for making bread.
"One of our most important products is granola, fortified with coca," said Marco Alarcón, in a dapper vest and tie, said of his four-year-old company, Caranavi. "Right now, we are selling everything in Bolivia, but the hope is to sell in China."
A couple of booths over, Angélica Quisberth, 25, sold cookies and bread made with coca. "What we want to show is that the coca leaf is not just for cocaine," she said, "but that you can do many things with it, and generate work."