Question - Can I bring coca tea to USA?

Answered by: Walter Rogers  |  Category: General  |  Last Updated: 27-06-2022  |  Views: 1082  |  Total Questions: 13

Officially, you are banned from importing coca tea leaves into the United States (USA). And on the US Customs and Border Protection website, it states the following about coca tea: “It is illegal to bring coca leaves into the U. S. for any purpose, including to use for brewing tea or for chewing. Not in the USA, sadly! In the countries of South America where coca tea is completely legal, it is possible to find coca tea bags in supermarkets and mom and pop shops in major cities and regional towns. Coca tea leaves are legal to purchase in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Coca tea is legal in Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador and Chile, but illegal in many countries outside South America. Coca tea bags can be decocainized (yes, that's a real word), and are therefore legal in the USA. You won't find decocainized coca tea bags in Peru or Bolivia. Legal status The primary organization authorized to purchase coca leaves is ENACO S. A., headquartered in Peru. Outside of South America, most countries' laws make no distinction between the coca leaf and any other substance containing cocaine, so the possession of coca leaf is prohibited. Yes, you can probably bring some as a souvenir. Yes, those answers contradict each other. Coca leaf is banned, under the narcotics laws, in most every country except a very few, including Europe and USA in the list of countires where it is banned (as mentioned in Mark Mayo's well researched answer).

https://www.tni.org/en/primer/coca-leaf-myths-and-reality

Why is the coca leaf banned? In 1961 the coca leaf was listed on Schedule I of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs together with cocaine and heroin, with a strict control level on medical and scientific use.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705900/

Coca tea is regularly consumed by the people of some countries in South America. This study has shown that consumption of one cup of coca tea results in detectable concentrations of cocaine metabolites in the urine for at least 20 h. Therefore, coca tea drinkers may test positive in a urine drug test for cocaine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_status_of_cocaine

Use and possession of cocaine is illegal. Cultivation of coca plants is legal, and coca leaves are sold openly on markets. Similarly to Bolivia, chewing leaves and drinking coca tea are cultural practices.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola

In 1903, it was removed. After 1904, instead of using fresh leaves, Coca-Cola started using "spent" leaves – the leftovers of the cocaine-extraction process with trace levels of cocaine. Since then, Coca-Cola has used a cocaine-free coca leaf extract prepared at a Stepan Company plant in Maywood, New Jersey.

https://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/29/opinion/l-how-to-use-nonaddictive-coca-tea-777392.html

As anyone who has traveled in the high Andes knows, drinking coca tea, which tastes like most herbal teas and does not become addictive, is great at relieving altitude sickness.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/peru/local-laws-and-customs

Don't take coca leaves or coca tea out of the country. It's illegal to import these items into the UK.

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/why-is-the-coca-planted-only-cultivated-in-south-america/Conte

Coca is indigenous to the Andes, where for millennia people have been cultivating a few species whose leaves they chew as a stimulant. Anthropologists have theorized that chewing coca may offset adverse effects of high-altitude life. But as an intoxicant, coca leaf packs no more punch than a strong cup of coffee.

https://www.businessinsider.com/what-happened-to-the-cocaine-in-coca-cola-2012-2

While the original Coke formula had a significant amount of cocaine in it, it was quickly limited and, by 1903 or thereabouts, eliminated from the recipe. This was done in part because the desired flavor can be extracted from the coca leaves, removing the cocaine and leaving the drug aside as a byproduct.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/data-and-analysis/bulletin/bulletin_1958-01-01_2_page005.html

coca, far from growing wild all over the country, is not known to grow in a state of nature anywhere in India. A few plants were found in some of the Nilgiris estates, which were in all probability relics of the experiment made in 1885, but even these contained little or no cocaine.

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crack_cocaine

Crack cocaine (or just crack) is an illegal drug which is made from cocaine. Cocaine is mostly an illegal drug that comes from the leaves of a plant called coca. When people smoke crack, they have a feeling called "being high. " The name "crack" comes from the cracking sound the drug makes as it is smoked.

https://www.nytimes.com/1984/09/12/world/cup-of-coca-not-so-nice.html

Coca tea, similar in taste to several other traditional teas, is a mild stimulant, not as strong as coffee. At the same time, it does produce a slight narcotic effect, a barely perceptible feeling of euphoria. Bolivians drink mate de coca and serve it to others as casually as Americans drink coffee.

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/cocaine-treatment/how-long-in-system

Its metabolites can usually be detected in urine for up to 3 days, but it can remain detectable for up to 2 weeks in heavy users.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2016/11-12/daily-life-coca-inca-andes-south-amer

Locals still use coca today to combat altitude sickness, and to relieve pain and hunger. Some still believe that its leaves can be read to tell the future. Scientific studies of coca's medicinal properties have found that its leaves contain a powerful alkaloid that acts as a stimulant.