The recent ruling by the Mexico Supreme Court that opens the way to the legalization of recreational Marijuana in Mexico has also potentially opened the door to a powerful new economic resource for the country, which would piggyback on an already-existing medical tourism industry. With very little effort, Mexico could create a nationwide system of “Centros de Coca Curacion” and become the leading center for Coca Leaf therapy in the world.
Each year hundreds of thousands of North Americans and Europeans head to Mexico for everything from dental procedures to fertility treatment to intricate neurosurgery. They are comfortable doing so because for generations North Americans and Europeans have experienced successful, inexpensive, highly competent medical treatment in Mexico. Medical treatment in Mexico is a known, fully accepted option. There are even a number of US health insurers who pay for medical treatment in Mexico such as BlueShield of California through its “Access Baja” health plan.
All that Mexico would have to do would be to legalize the possession and use of Coca Leaf and at least two potentially huge new medical industries would open up. Coca Leaf spas where people could go for relaxation and treatment, and Coca Leaf medications similar to those already being manufactured in Bolivia and Peru. Medical treatment at Coca Leaf spas would be closer, cheaper, and more familiar than having to fly to the southern Andes. Plus Mexico has a huge traditional community of healers as well as all varieties of contemporary medicine from allopathic to naturopathic MDs.
Freely available Coca Leaf medications in the form of teas, pastilles and – almost certainly – some version of Vin Mariani would soon make their way into the world market. This is already happening in Peru and Bolivia.
There would be no need for the Mexican government to spend a single peso to accomplish this. Turn on the green light and Mexican entrepreneurs would jump on this opportunity immediately.
Mexico would not have to wait for Mexican farmers to get Coca plantations established – it would be a simple matter of the Mexican government allowing the regulated importation of fresh Coca Leaf from Bolivia while licensed & regulated Coca plantations were coming of age in the Mexican mountains. Since it takes several years to get a Coca plantation fully productive the imported leaf option would enable the Mexican Medical Coca Leaf industry to begin immediately, with existing health spas and clinics, and even straightforward tourism destinations, simply adding Coca Leaf treatment to their healing repertory.
This activity wouldn’t interfere with the powerful cartels either. It would be relatively easy to control where the freshly harvested Coca Leaf wound up, and the cartels have no trouble getting all the Cocaine they want from Colombia anyway. Besides, there would probably be at least a few Cartel leaders smart enough to see the incredible opportunity in Coca Leaf spas, just as I am quite certain that the imminent legalization of Cannabis has quite a few Cartel leaders contemplating the potential of Medical Cannabis treatment centers.
Mexico has no shortage of fantastically beautiful mountain and coastal locations for both kinds of spas – Coca Leaf and Cannabis – and could in a very short time become a global medical tourism destination. However, perhaps more important to the revival of rural Mexico’s economy, there are over a hundred natural hot springs that are not used much if at all by tourists and outsiders, known to the locals as “Balenearios”. You can find an extensive listing of Mexican Balenearios in a fine book by Mike Nelson entitled “Spas and Hot Springs of Mexico”.
While these locally-known resources are not usually set up for accommodating outside visitors, the simplicity of making Coca Leaf treatments available to visitors would mean that with very little effort – a few guest houses and a little restaurant or two – hundreds of struggling little towns throughout Mexico’s mountainous regions could transform themselves into destinations for the more adventurous health seekers who wanted to avoid the cloying atmosphere of upper-class health spas. Balenearios are primarily located in the states of Aquascalientes (duh), Guanajuato, Michoacan, Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, Queretaro, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosi, so medical travelers would have a wide range of choices.
This means that instead of having to travel to Peru or Bolivia for access to Coca Leaf for treating and curing everything from Alzheimer’s to Congestive Heart Failure, North Americans could travel easily and inexpensively to Mexico. And of course many Mexicans living in the US would be even more incentivized than non-Hispanics to make the journey for Coca Leaf treatment as an alternative to the broad range of diseases and conditions that are treatable and curable with this simple, powerful, natural medicine.
There are other good reasons why Mexico should consider making Coca Leaf legal immediately. It would bring new life to small towns that have local hot springs and possibly traditional healing centers in remote areas. In many cases it would give Mexicans living in the hostile environment of the US, working for slave wages, an opportunity to return home and earn a good living in their home town or village. Finally – and this is no small matter – it would give Mexicans an excellent opportunity to give the Estados Unidos a great big middle finger salute and a hearty “Hasta la vista, baby”.
Oh, and just because it would be the right thing to do, the Mexican government ought to pass laws ensuring that no US citizens who was or is a US Federal government employee in any of the agencies involved in narcotics law enforcement, could receive treatment in any licensed Mexican Medical Coca Leaf or Medical Cannabis spa. Decisions to profit from participation in organized evil should have consequences, no?