Tag Archives: Drug Czar

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala suspended U.S.-backed plans to begin eradication there and replaced the Peruvian drug czar who was advocating it

LIMA, Peru — Colombia surpassed Peru last year in land under coca cultivation, with Peru experiencing a 14 per cent drop in acreage for the plant used to make cocaine, according to UN data released Wednesday.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s annual report on Peruvian coca’s crop said it encompassed 42,900 hectares. It’s the crop’s fourth straight year of decline and the smallest area under cultivation since 1998.

The finding does not necessarily mean Colombia is now the world’s No. 1 cocaine producer, however. Much of Peru’s crop is more mature and higher yielding, having never been subjected to eradication.

Peru’s government does not destroy coca in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river valley, the world’s leading coca-growing region, citing security concerns. The size of Belgium and Israel

combined, the valley accounts for 68 per cent of Peru’s coca crop.

Last year, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala suspended U.S.-backed plans to begin eradication there and replaced the Peruvian drug czar who was advocating it.

The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates Peru’s potential cocaine production for 2014 at 285 metric tons, versus 245 metric tons for Colombia.

Peru’s drug czar, Alberto Otarola, said his government is not finished measuring potential cocaine production but estimated it at currently “no more than 270 tons.”

Two weeks ago, the UN said Colombia’s coca acreage skyrocketed in 2014 from 48,000 hectares to 69,000 hectares. That’s in large part because of reduced aerial spraying. The herbicide used, glyphosate, was recently classified by a UN health agency as a probable carcinogen.

Peru only eradicates manually.

“We are the Andean region country that has advanced most in reducing coca leaf,” Otarola told reporters. Peru destroyed 31,000 hectares of coca last year and has set the goal of destroying 35,000 hectares this year.

The policy provokes resistance from the tens of thousands of Peruvians who depend on coca for their livelihood.

On Tuesday, at least one person was killed and 25 people, including seven police officers, were injured in a clash between coca farmers and police in the Amazonian town of Constitution, local officials said. The farmers were protesting eradication and a lack of alternative development in the region.

One indicator of cocaine production is the amount of coca leaf harvested per country.

In 2014, Peru produced an estimated 100,800 metric tons, compared to 132,700 metric tons for Colombia, said Flavio Mirella, the Peru country representative for the UN agency.

The vast majority of coca leaf grown in both countries is used to produce cocaine.

The UN and the U.S. both agree that Bolivia is the No. 3 cocaine-producing nation after Colombia and Peru. The White House put Bolivia’s estimated potential cocaine production at 210 metric tons, up from 145 metric tons in 2012.

Bolivia has become a major transit and refining country for Peruvian cocaine in recent years.

The U.S. ended counter-narcotics assistance to Bolivia in 2013, five years after its government expelled the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

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Sponsors cancel drug summit in Madras after facing criticism from marijuana legalization advocates

 

By Jeff Mapes | [email protected]
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on August 21, 2014 at 7:25 PM, updated August 21, 2014 at 7:28 PM

A nonprofit group has canceled an October anti-drug summit in Madras — which was to feature a prominent opponent of marijuana legalization — after complaints were raised by sponsors of the ballot measure that would permit recreational use of the drug.

The sponsors of the legalization initiative, Measure 91, charged this week that it was wrong for summit organizers to use federal funds to help pay for an appearance by Kevin Sabet, a former White House drug adviser who has formed an organization opposing marijuana legalization.

Sabet was also scheduled to appear in 12 other Oregon cities as part of an “Oregon Marijuana Education Tour” following the summit.  Sabet had said that, at the request of organizers, he would not talk about the ballot measure at either the Madras event or on the tour.

Rick Treleaven, the executive director of BestCare Treatment Practices and the organizer of the Madras summit, said he decided to cancel the summit because he “could see from an outside perspective that it could look like a conflict.”

Treleaven, whose nonprofit that runs community mental health programs for Jefferson County, said he did not know if the 12-city tour featuring Sabet would still take place.  “It depends on what the other folks do,” he said, referring to the local sponsors, some of whom were also using federal anti-drug grants to help pay for the events.

Treleaven said he hoped to reschedule the Madras summit for some time after the election.  He has noted that the summit has been held for several years in October and that this year’s event was not intended to influence the marijuana vote.

However, Anthony Johnson, chief sponsor of the marijuana legalization measure, said Wednesday that the heavy focus on marijuana during the summit and on the tour smacked of electioneering using federal money — even if participants did not  specifically discuss the initiative.

Johnson could not be reached Thursday evening, but Peter Zuckerman, a spokesman for the campaign said sponsors did the right thing in canceling the summit and should do the same for the 12-city tour.

“Federal taxpayer dollars should not be used to influence an election,” he said.  “Calling this an educational campaign is ridiculous.”

— Jeff Mapes

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