New Colombia Resources, Inc. has announced plans to develop coca products for medicinal use. The Colombian company, which is active in the nation’s emerging medical marijuana market, will be producing the products legally and is encouraged by coca being on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency‘s “Schedule II” list. Marijuana, on the contrary, remains under the agency’s “Schedule I” classification, the DEA reaffirmed this week.
The firm says it will join forces with with experienced indigenous community members who have long been using coca leaves to deal with all sorts of ailments. Through chemical processing, coca can be turned into cocaine, but it is what New Colombia Resources calls “fundamentally benign” in addition to being able to help regulate blood glucose. It also contains antioxidants and can be a source of vitamin A, riboflavin, iron, and calcium, says the company.
“Indigenous communities in Colombia have been using ‘mama-coca’ for centuries as a medicine and are allowed to grow coca leaves to manufacture and market products derived from their sacred plants, including marijuana and coca,” said the company in a statement. “New Colombia Resources has made significant advances in creating several categories of products to be announced in the very near future.”
The company says that some 100 metric tons of coca leaves are legally imported to the United States each year with DEA approval. It plans to “de-cocainize” all its leaves in Colombia before shipping any coca or related products to the United States.
“As Colombians, our aim is for Colombians to take the lead in this new industry — not multinationals,” said John Campo, president of New Colombia Resources. “Our experience with medical marijuana is a huge benefit in our efforts to create a sustainable coca leaf industry for these communities.”