• Bolivia

    Overview of drug laws and legislative trends in Bolivia.


    Not much has been done to open the discussion toward a more humane legislative framework for drug control.

    The current law prohibits drug use and punishes possession for personal use with internment and forced treatment. Domestically, a legal market for coca leaf has always existed and Bolivia is trying to change the international legal regime for the coca leaf.

    In March 2009, President Evo Morales requested the deletion of articles in the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs prohibiting the chewing of the coca leaf. This marks an important first step that will be followed by initiating the WHO procedure to withdraw the coca leaf from Schedule I of the 1961 Convention.

    While other reforms have been announced in regard to the Bolivian drug law, changes remain to be seen.


    Law 1008 of 19 July 1988 on the regime applicable to coca and controlled substances:

    Article 35. Prohibition of possession or storage: “No natural or juridical person may have or possess in any form or quantity, or in any place, drugs that contain or consist of controlled substances, without prior authorization from the Ministry of Social Welfare and Public Health, in consultation with the National Council Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Traffic.”

    Article 37. Traffic and consumption: “The traffic, portioning and consumption of controlled substances listed in the schedules of the annex to the present Law are prohibited.”

    Article 48. Traffic: “Any person who engages in traffic in controlled substances shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of ten to twenty-five years plus a fine at ten thousand to twenty thousand times the daily rate.”

    Article 49. Consumption and possession for consumption: “Drug-dependent persons or non-habitual consumers apprehended in the possession of controlled substances in minimal quantities that are presumed to be intended for their own immediate personal consumption shall be detained in a public or private institution for drug-dependence to receive treatment until such time as certainty regarding their rehabilitation has been established.

    The minimum quantity for immediate personal consumption shall be determined through a ruling by two experts from a public institution for drug-dependence. If the quantity held is greater than the minimum quantity, it shall fall under the provisions of article 48 of this Law."

    For the latest news on drug law reform in Bolivia click here.

  • Drugs and prisons in Bolivia

    Bolivia has announced its intention to reform its drug law (Law 1008), which has been criticized for resulting in sentences that are disproportionate to the crimes committed. But nothing has happened.

  • Drug Laws and Prisons in Bolivia

    Systems Overload: Drug Laws and Prisons in Latin America

    Bolivia’s participation in the international drug-trafficking circuit was determined by a series of factors, ranging from the ancestral tradition of growing and consuming coca leaf, to the endemic poverty of the population (per capita GDP is less than US$ 1,000) and the structural weakness of state institutions.

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In 2011 the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs will be in place for 50 years. In 2012 the international drug control system will exist 100 years since the International Opium Convention was signed in 1912 in The Hague. Does it still serve its purpose or is a reform of the UN Drug Conventions needed? This site provides critical background.

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