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While coca leaf has been an integral part of Andean civilization since long before Europeans arrived in the Americas, it has been the target of attacks by Catholic priests, moralizing modernizers, and international drug warriors over centuries. In 1961, the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs placed coca on its Schedule 1 list of controlled substances, along with heroin and cocaine, and decreed that coca-chewing must be abolished within twenty-five years. The basis for this attack was the report produced by the United Nations Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf in 1950. While the investigation was ostensibly an...

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