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MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has submitted to parliament a draft law on Russia’s formal objection to Bolivia’s reservation to the UN drugs convention seeking an exception for the use of coca leaf.
Effective January 1, 2012, Bolivia denounced the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and is now seeking to re-join the Convention with a reservation upholding uses of coca leaf in its natural state within Bolivian territory.
All other parties to the Convention had 12 months to consider Bolivia’s reservation. Unless one-third of the parties object (62 or more countries), Bolivia’s reservation “shall be deemed to be permitted.”
A number of countries, including the United States, have objected.
It was not entirely clear why Putin moved the bill after the 12-month period has expired or what effect Russia’s formal objection will now have.
Bolivia’s exception is at odds with the principles and purposes of the Convention as it can have negative consequences such as “an increase in illegal circulation of cocaine,” the Russian bill says.
“It also sets a dangerous precedent that could be used by other states in creating a more liberal drug control regime.”
The Convention aims to combat drug abuse by coordinated international action. It seeks to limit the possession, use, distribution, import, export and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. And it combats drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers.
Because the Convention has already been ratified the objection is to be expressed through the adoption of a federal law, the bill says.
The UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which monitors implementation of the global drug treaties, has accused Bolivia of threatening the integrity of the entire international drug control regime by defending traditional uses of the coca leaf.
Bolivian President Evo Morales has defended the practice of chewing coca leaves as tradition and urged the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to reconsider its decision to declare them illegal.
Bolivia says the Convention is in contradiction to its new Constitution, adopted in 2009, which obliges the Bolivian State to “protect native and ancestral coca as cultural patrimony” and says that coca “in its natural state it is not a narcotic.”
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