As previously posted, Pope Francis plans to chew coca leaves and already drank tea infused with coca, the raw ingredient in cocaine, during his visit to Bolivia.
Psychedelic historian Michael Horowitz points out that Francis is following in the footsteps of Pope Leo XII who appeared in an advertisement for the coca-infused French wine Vin Mariani, popular in the late 19th century. Read the rest
The United Nations declared coca leaves an illegal substance in 1961, but Pope Francis told the government of Bolvia to break out the leaves when he arrives for a visit later this month - he plans to chew them. Coca leaves, which are the raw ingredient of cocaine, are legal in Bolivia for religious and medicinal purposes. It has mild stimulant qualities.
Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao says visiting dignitaries are usually offered coca tea, but when he contacted the Vatican to discuss the tradition, the pontiff had "specifically requested" to chew coca leaves.
"We will be awaiting the Holy Father with the sacred coca leaf," Mr Machicao said.
Image: Shutterstock/Jess Kraft: "Coca leaves and cigarettes for sale in Potosi, Bolivia" and Shutterstock: "Pope Francis" Read the rest