Fernanda de la Figuera, the oldest cannabis activist in Spain, passed away on April 24th, at the age of 79. Her death caused great pain in the cannabis movement, which has dedicated hundreds of commemorative messages on social networks to the "Marijuana Granny", whom they consider a great historical reference.
In 1978, at the age of 35, she went to live in Malaga to work in the real estate sector, buying and selling rural properties, where, according to her, she "fell in love" with the flora and climate of Andalusia. Since then, she has grown marijuana and fought for its legalization, so in 1996 she founded the Ramón Santos Association for Cannabis Studies in Andalusia (ARSECA), with which, in 1998, she organized for the first time the cannabis event La Bella Flor, which brought together more than 300 participants. Later, in 2010, she created the "Marías por María" Association in Malaga with other women who needed to use cannabis to relieve their pain or treat the symptoms of their illnesses.
When she was 76, she faced a four-year prison sentence for growing medical marijuana. In 2014, the Civil Guard seized from her garden plants used to relieve pain for more than a hundred members of the Cannabis Women's Association, who suffered from various diseases such as cancer, osteoarthritis, or fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, her fighting spirit continued.
She always kept the flag of the green leaf raised, indignant at the absurdity of banning a plant that provides so many benefits for health, personal wellbeing, knowledge, and even pleasure. However, the struggle was never easy for her, nor has it been for so many other activists who have faced this cause: legalizing cannabis use, which has been approved in many European countries, Canada, Israel, the United States, and many nations in Latin America.
Grandma Marihuana did not lose her smile, nor did she lose the desire to keep fighting for a regulation that would allow cultivation. She was sentenced to prison first by a criminal court and then by the Provincial Court of Malaga. It was a hard blow, but it was not enough to get her out of the game, not even at an age when almost everyone is thinking about retirement.
The Spanish cannabis movement, one of the main and largest pro-cannabis organizations, made up of more than 1,500 user associations, and still waiting for a state law to regulate its operations. They have publicly expressed how painful it has been to lose a grandmother, a veteran activist, and a historical reference in a long struggle. A toil that has not achieved its goal yet: regulate cannabis use, whether for medicinal or adult use.
Fernanda de la Figuera will always be remembered for her smile and will to fight for a cause that she began in the 1970s when Spain was still living under Francisco Franco's dictatorship. The same law approved in 1967 still governs to grant licenses to cultivate cannabis for research or medicinal production purposes. Five and a half decades later, in democracy, Congress has not managed to approve another regulation to replace it.