A step away from jail at 76: “I am not a drug dealer”
76 years old Fernanda was the first legal cultivator in Spain. Now she will be judged for an alleged excess production.
She is 76 years old and is judged for 4 years in jail. The reason? Marijuana plants in her garden. Her name is Fernanda De la Figuera and she is one of the most relevant cannabis figures in Spain. The marijuana grandmother is a familiar and respected face within the national cannabis scene. She has been planting in her garden for 50 years. Now, for that reason, she faces 4 years in prison.
Fernanda, born in Madrid but resident in Malaga for more than 40 years, got to know cannabis in the 60s. Since then she has become one of the greatest hemp activists in her country. Her fight achieved milestones in the mid-90s, when she became the first legal cultivator in Spain. She also participated in the creation of the first cannabis clubs in Spain, based in Barcelona. She has never trafficked. The purposes of her cultivation is essentially medicinal. Now she is accused of overproduction and that can lead her to jail.
“No, no. If I wanted to make money with marijuana, I would have become a drug dealer. I am not a narcotrafficker. It is not the case and everyone knows it. I do not traffic. I plant marijuana for medical reasons; because thanks to her I can live in decent conditions. I was diagnosed as a child with a series of health problems, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatism … I fell and broke my tailbone. If it weren’t for marijuana I would be in a wheelchair. I don’t just say that, doctors have diagnosed me“, she says in a conversation with EL ESPAÑOL.
Tomatoes, corn, marijuana …
In 1995 she was allowed to legally cultivate marijuana plants for medicinal purposes after a precedential sentence in Spain. “I had an excellent lawyer and got the right to plant in my garden. I had a row of tomatoes, another of marijuana, another of corn… ” She was basically growing her medicine. “And that of my daughter, for example, who has not smoked in her life and suffered severe menstrual pain. She gave her a scrub with cannabis oils and calmed all the pain”, she says.
If you have been allowed to legally cultivate, where is the problem? In quantity. Fernanda opened cannabis associations with a strong feminist component. She called them “Mary x Mary.” “I have been a feminist when the movement in Spain was not yet important. I was a single mother and advocated for responsible motherhood without getting married,” she recalls. With her associations, she sought to bring women closer to cannabis culture in a responsible way and with information. “But in the associations there are also men, I get along very well with them, I want them working and fighting by my side,” she summarizes.
In these associations, all affiliates collaborated to have one plant per member. The fame of the figure of ‘the cannabis grandmother’ and the philosophy of her clubs made the number of members increase. “At the beginning we were 25, so we cultivated 25 plants. In the end we were more than 100, I can’t tell you if we were 120, 150 or 180. Well, one for each one, which is fair,” says Fernanda, who adds that “sometimes the calculations don’t add up. Some plants do not mature, others do not get yield … You end up balancing so that everyone has at least some cannabis. You tell me, if that is trafficking.”
The alleged crime is in the increase of production. The increase of members has led to a logical increase in production, and this is why they have denounced it. They have tried to obstruct Fernanda’s growing on all sides. Legally and illegally. From security forces to thieves. And in the end, although she became the first legal cannabis grower in Spain, she will be seen again in court for this matter. She is accused of an excess of production. Spanish legislation has a great legal vacuum in the field of cannabis production and now they accuse her of producing more than she should. In total, she faces 4 years in prison.
The trial should have been held on Thursday, April 25 at the Provincial Court of Malaga, but it has been suspended. “They have postponed it until October for a matter of missing documents. Bureaucratic issues.” Thus, its uncertainty continues until after summer. However, Fernanda maintains a positive attitude about it: “Let’s not be pessimistic. We’re going to wait. If in the end there is a conviction, then there are other courts above to appeal,” says Fernanda.
The century of cannabis medicine
“This is going to be the century of cannabis medicine and they know it in countries like Israel, where it is being given to older people who find an absolute improvement with marijuana treatments. It doesn’t have to be smoked, there are oils, tinctures, edible formats…”
As a person with more than 50 years of experience as a consumer says, “and it has done me only good. I was born in a very conservative family, very male chauvinist, military. But it was precisely the contact with the legion’s military, those who came to Malaga with the kifi (the name of marijuana pollen in Morocco) that put me in contact with cannabis. My parents, in the end, who lived in Larache (Morocco) and never smoked, finally understood why I consumed,” she recalls. She has spent her entire life consuming to improve her health. And not even the threat of jail will change her philosophy: “I am not a drug dealer. I have never sold. I only grow to be healthy. Cannabis has been with me all my life, but I wish I had known it before. ”
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