March 9 (UPI) -- Bolivian President Evo Morales has signed into law a bill that nearly doubles the acres that can be used to grow the coca plant, which has medicinal uses but is also used to create cocaine.
Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, is a former coca farmer. The coca plant is used by indigenous populations of Bolivia as a mild stimulant and to fight altitude sickness, but it is also the main ingredient in cocaine.
Morales said the law, which increases the land on which coca can be planted from about 29,600 acres to about 55,000 acres, battles the U.S. drug policy, which he has previously likened to "economic terrorism."
"With the General Law of the Coca, the sacred leaf is imposed on United States; coca for life is guaranteed, [coca chewing] for everyone," Morales said in a statement on Wednesday.
Morales' government hopes to increase the exportation of coca to other countries, such as Ecuador, La Razon reported.
Morales previously accused the United States of perpetuating drug trafficking. He said the U.S. war on drugs is a geopolitical tactic used in the region against popular leaders to destabilize governments against the will of the country's people.
"Drug trafficking seems like the big business of the capitalist system," Morales said. "[The United States] is a very developed country, with a lot of technology and the one who consumes the most drugs."