Bolivia to Update Anti-Drug Law

By Dialogo
December 06, 2011

The Bolivian government is preparing two legal texts that will update Law 1008 on the Coca and Controlled-Substances Regime, in effect since 1998.

“We’ve been working on two laws to replace [anti-drug Law] 1008, with the understanding that coca cannot be criminalized under the terms of our Political Constitution. One will be a law dealing with this traditional plant, and the other will sanction drug trafficking,” Senator Eugenio Rojas of the ruling MAS party told the newspaper La Razón.

The draft Controlled Substances Act expands the list of defined offenses from 28 to 46, bans small-scale trafficking, and imposes criminal penalties on offenses such as the production, refining, illicit trafficking, illicit possession, and incitement to the use of controlled substances, and even their transport inside the human body.

It also provides for the restructuring of the institutions currently responsible for fighting illicit drug trafficking, assigning them new functions.

A decentralized agency, dependent on the Economy Ministry, will administer the assets seized from drug traffickers, as well as the economic resources generated by the conversion of such property into cash.

Prevention and family-reinsertion policies for drug users will be the responsibility of an agency that will create rehabilitation centers.

According to the United Nations, Bolivia is the world’s third largest cocaine producer, after Colombia and Peru.

That organization notes that Bolivia has 31,000 hectares of coca plantations, of which only 12,000 hectares are recognized as legal for traditional uses, such as infusion, mastication, and Andean religious rituals.