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A Cannaversation with Dra. Weed

Author James Longshore with cannabis activist Dra. Weed at Spannabis 2019 in Barcelona. (C) James Longshore

By James Longshore

Ana Laura Bucci, better known as Instagrammer and activist Doctora Weed, is based in Madrid, Spain. Originally from Montevideo, Uruguay, she is a mother, a grower, a professional cook and a consummate hostess with the mostest. After her panel at the World Cannabis Conferences at Spannabis Cannabis Expo 2019 in Barcelona last month, she graciously handed out not just baked, infused treats but also some fresh bud from a local friend’s harvest!

Uruguay was the first G7 country to fully legalize cannabis. First announced in 2012 by then-president José Mujica, the government’s plan was fully implemented in 2017. Citizens—not tourists—can walk into a pharmacy and buy marijuana for roughly $2.50 a gram. But there are limits. You can only purchase 40 grams per month. You must be registered with the government and give a fingerprint. Only two companies are licensed to grow marijuana commercially. A household can only grow up to six plants. At the moment, there are more than 8,200 registered growers and over 22,000 registered purchasers in Uruguay.

These limits concern Dra. Weed. For she is also an outspoken public advocate for cannabis cultivation and cuisine who has close to 40,000 instagram followers. Perhaps that is why she was invited to speak at the World Cannabis Conference Panel “Cannabis Televisions 2.0: Marijuana On Air: Between Freedom and Censorship.” The panel was presented by Spanish cannabis media channel MarihuanaTV and hosted by broadcast journalist Clara Sativa. The panel also included speakers Simon Espinosa of Chilean streaming channel En Vola and a representative from undergrow.tv, another Spanish-Language channel that has over 130,000 subscribers.

During the conference, Dra. Weed talked about a number of subjects that concern her. As a mother, it was important for her to talk to her children about the legality and illegality of the plant, so they would know how to behave at school. She agreed with Clara that a well-informed society is less manipulable.

Dra. Weed has been growing for over 10 years and she would rather people grow than buy. She thinks eating the plant is also important. According to Dra. Weed, TV tells us that you will be a criminal if you plant—and that’s a lie.

She is a woman in cannabis— a woman in a man’s world. She covers cannabis growing and cuisine on her social media because the mainstream media doesn’t and she insists on doing it with dignity. Her ambitious plans include starting her own youth consumption prevention programs as an alternative to the government’s very aggressive programs, which she considers disrespectful to the plant and it’s users.

I caught up with her after the conference to clarify some of her comments and get an on-the-ground report on legalization in Uruguay. Dra. Weed was kind enough to grant me a short cannaversation through her assistant, a gracious translator.

Note: The following conversation is paraphrased from a real-time Spanish-English translation.

JAMES LONGSHORE: What are some of the everyday, on-the-ground problems with legalization in Uruguay?

DRA. WEED: There are weak spots in the regulations. For example, you are only allowed to grow six plants outdoor for personal use per household. That’s per household. So, for example a household that includes a couple or a family, can only grow six plants, no matter the number of persons in the household. This is bad for outdoor growing. Outdoor cultivation is vulnerable to many hazards including pests. This can produce a lower yield which may be too little to meet the household’s needs. So it’s a step forward, but the regulations shouldn’t be so arbitrary; they should be more proportional.

I was in Ecuador filming a movie in 2017 and I heard some conspiracy theories about the cannabis market in Chile.

(Smiles) Oh yeah? What?

About the market and that there was a shortage and it was because the government sold their yield to some big companies. But the government claimed it was because the crop was contaminated. Are the theories true?

¡Si! ¡Nooo. . . but. . . si! It is highly likely it could have happened; this type of thing exists in the business and industry in Chile. But I don’t personally believe this theory.

One criticism I’ve heard about the way in which the government is legalizing is that they are still portraying it as a disease, and users as addicts. What do you think?

Yes, the people love this lie. There are still legal programs in which defendants are forced to attend treatment, and it is seen as a problem. But actually, there is a large spectrum in Chile, from medicinal use to recreational. And there are users and abusers who show a negative image to the media and to the people.

I also read about problems with the pharmacies not wanting to sell cannabis because the U.S. banks they did business with would refuse to process money because of the federal prohibition.

Yes, the pharmacies do not want to sell cannabis. But it is not because of this reason. It is because of social issues. The pharmacies’ concern is that they will get robbed. There still exists a lot of prejudice against the cannabis user. The pharmacies worry that the drug addict will become desperate and break into the pharmacy and steal the cannabis. It is about the negative image.

What are some the challenges you face as a cannabis activist with a public image and media personality? Do you get any censorship?

My biggest problem is the social networks. It is not the censorship. I do not have problems with the platforms censoring the content. The problem is the awful hate reports. It is the users who follow me only so they can comment and write awful hateful things toward me. And others who falsely report me, causing the hazard of a shutdown. It is a tentacle of hate. But it is from the users, not the platform.

Finally, tell me, why do you do it? Why do you advocate on behalf of cannabis?

I want to share my experiences with the benefits of the plant. I like going against the flow. I am very grassroots. Homegrown. I want everyone to grow their own. I am trying to teach the DIY methods to everyone. So I share with others a common mans approach to growing.

[Did] you [have] a good time at Spannabis?

Yeah. Not the music, but. . . yeah!

I very much enjoyed talking with Dra. Weed beneath the Spanish sunshine. She is a lively spirit who entertained and interacted with the whole table while simultaneously giving me concise, intelligent answers. My impression is that even though Uruguay is a pioneer, the country seems to suffer from some of the same problems plaguing legalization not just in the U.S., but as I learned at Spannabis, many countries throughout this shared community. One is the government’s continued insistence on demeaning and demonizing the community and advancing the narrative that cannabis is a drug and its’ consumers drug users. The other is the stifling, unrealistic regulations which help to underscore that false narrative and undermine the cannabis community and its progress. 

I offer a warm thanks to Dra. Weed for taking a moment to talk to me and for all her efforts to inform the public and advocate on behalf of cannabis!

To learn more about Dra. Weed, follow her on Twitter at @kyloveone.

For more about Spannabis and the World Cannabis Conferences, visit spannabis.com/barcelona and worldcannabisconferences.com/wcc_en.

James Longshore is an actor and writer who has appeared in award-winning films and TV series which have played around the world. Mr. Longshore has written for the cannabis sector since 2014, but most importantly, he is the creator, writer and artistic supervisor of James Bong: Cannabis Crusader, the only comic out there starring a hero for the legalization movement! You can learn more about the James Bong series at
https://www.comixcentral.com/vendors/james-bong-comics/ or by following the comic universe on Facebook.

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