We should point out immediately that His Holiness isn’t actually intending to hoover up a line of pure cocaine – he’s just chewing the leaves used to make it.
But that’s controversial enough – as coca leaves were classified as a narcotic under the 1961 UN Convention on narcotic drugs.
The Pontiff specifically requested that he chew coca leaves, the raw ingredient for cocaine, on an upcoming visit to Bolivia on July 8
Bolivian culture minister Marko Machicao said that the pontiff had ‘specifically requested’ to chew coca leaves, rather than having coca tea.
Despite the UN ruling, the leaves are licensed in Bolivia, and used traditionally to combat altitude sickness and other ailments.
The Vatican has yet to comment.
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