The voice and role of communities, particularly their capacity to organise and resist, has been understudied in the specialised literature on illicit crops and largely ignored in policy debates. Based on ongoing research in Colombia, this policy paper explores the capacity of communities to organise and resist – as a manifestation of cultural and social capital – in the context of illicit economies. The paper argues that in the context of weak states, the effectiveness of drug policies could be enhanced by drawing upon and investing in communities’ organisational capacity and active local leadership to increase the non-monetary benefits of eradication and substitution. Acknowledging how resistance reflects the experiences of communities and responds to their different needs, the paper offers relevant insights for policy that can inform drug policy formulation in Colombia and similar contexts.
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