Published: January 15. 2013 4:00AM PST
Coca leaf producers toss coca leaves Monday during an event commemorating the tradition of coca leaf chewing in La Paz, Bolivia.
The growers held street demonstrations in La Paz and Cochabamba to celebrate that their centuries-old Andean practice of chewing or otherwise ingesting the leaves, a mild stimulant in their natural form, will now be universally recognized as legal within Bolivia.
A year ago, Bolivia temporarily withdrew from the 1961 U.N. convention on narcotic drugs because it classified the leaves, the raw material of cocaine, as an illicit drug.
Bolivia rejoined the U.N. convention when chewing the leaves gained legal recognition within the country’s borders.
— The Associated Press
Juan Karita / The Associated Press