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Coca Leaves US Legal Status

In the United States, coca leaf is classified as a Schedule II narcotic drug, making it illegal to buy, sell, or possess without a DEA license or medical prescription. Mallinckrodt Inc. of St. Louis is the only U.S. company allowed to purify cocaine from coca leaves. The Stepan Company of Maywood, New Jersey, is the nation's only legal importer of coca leaf.

The coca leaf is listed on Schedule I of the 1961 Single Convention together with cocaine and heroin. The Convention determined that "The Parties shall so far as possible enforce the uprooting of all coca bushes which grow wild. They shall destroy the coca bushes if illegally cultivated" (Article 26), and that, "Coca leaf chewing must be abolished within twenty-five years from the coming into force of this Convention" (Article 49, 2.e)


According to The New York Times, the Coca-Cola Company still uses a nondrug extract from coca leaves as a flavoring agent in its popular soft drink. The original drink's recipe included cocaine, but the drug was no longer included after 1900. According to the Bolivian Press, in 1996 the legal importation of coca leaf by Coca-Cola was 204 tons annually.

Can I bring in coca leaves for my personal use?
No. It is illegal to bring coca leaves into the U.S. for any purpose, including to use for brewing tea or for chewing.