Coca and Cocaine Production
Great Valley High School
Illegal drug trade is a global black market that makes up approximately 1% of total global trade, contributing an estimated $321 billion a year or more to the GDP. Within illegal drug trade, cocaine is responsible for $77 billion of the total drug trade revenue. (United Nations) The psychoactive drug, made from the treatment of coca leaves, is the most dangerous drug in the amphetamine drug classbecause it is highly addictive and extremely harmful to human health. (Nutt) The consumption and trade of cocaine has been linked to poverty and violence, especially in the American states, making coca and cocaine production a relevant and pressing issue. The state of Colombia believes that it is the responsibility of the Organization of American States to implement policies that are effective in reducing coca and cocaine production and consumption and its negative consequences.
In the global community, Peru is the largest producer of Cocaine and coca leaves, with Colombia at a close second, and the United States is the largest consumer of cocaine. Bolivia is also a major producer of Cocaine. Across the Atlantic, many European countries are major consumers of cocaine, including the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, and Ireland (CIA). Because Colombia is one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine, it must assume great responsibility in limiting production and trafficking. Colombia’s stance on the issue also involves encouraging countries that are major consumers of cocaine to reduce their population’s demand for the drug. (UNODC) This, in turn, will decrease the need for cocaine production in Colombia, therefore reducing the repercussions that cocaine production has on the state and the rest of the world.
Colombia realizes that policing drug trafficking is a major expense for the countries of the OAS and that many countries are tremendous beneficiaries of illegal drug trade, including Bolivia, whose cocaine industry has generated more trade revenue than any other export in recent history, and the state of Mexico. (UNRISD) However, aid can be expected from organizations that have historically worked to reduce coca and cocaine production, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Union, and the long-term effects of reducing the size of the cocaine industry far outweigh the current economic benefits of illegal drug trade.
History of position:
Cocaine production and consumption has been prohibited in Colombia since 1914, following the United States’ example set by the Harrison Narcotics Act. At this time, psychoactive drug production was popular in Colombia’s indigenous peoples for medicinal and cultural purposes.
Following prohibition, initial producers and traffickers formed cartels, which later expanded into major criminal conglomerates that resorted to kidnapping and murdering to avoid conflict with the government of Colombia. These cartels also supported the formation of right-wing paramilitary groups in the state of Colombia, who are currently responsible for 70-80% of human rights violations in the state, despite the recent dismantling of Colombia’s major cartels.
Colombia’s position on cocaine smuggling is aligned with that of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); the state of Colombia believes that cocaine-consuming countries need to take responsibility in the War on Drugs by lowering demand. In Colombia, policy has mainly set out to prevent coca cultivation through herbicide use and to disrupt cocaine manufacturing and commercialization, mainly by destroying cartel infrastructure and interdicting drug shipments.
In recent news, Colombia’s president Juan Manuel Santos has expressed a willingness to decriminalize cocaine if “the world thinks that's the solution.” Santos also stated that this effort would need to be multilateral, emphasizing that Colombia does not wish to