"After all, we are what we do to change what we are." - Eduardo Galeano
26-year old Damian’s connection to cannabis started out the same way as that of so many other teenagers: he smoked it to get high. But as the years passed, Damian’s relationship with Cannabis slowly evolved, from consuming it, to growing it, to cultivating it through cannabis clubs. As for the future? If it was up to Damian the ban on Cannabis would be lifted everywhere and the plant would be recognised for what it is: a plant. One that can be used for so much more than a means to get high.
‘I got involved with marijuana during my adolescence. In Uruguay people smoke quite a lot of marijuana, so it didn’t take long until a friend of mine offered it to me. Immediately it became very present in my life. I liked it a lot. When I was relaxed, marjuana would relax me even more. At other times it would give me insights about myself, a different perspective on things I would normally overlook. In short, it helped me to stop and reflect, so I’ve always seen it as a good companion. When I got a bit older, about sixteen or seventeen, I began to grow marjuana at home from seeds that I had taken out of my weed. In Uruguay we used to smoke weed from Paraguay. They harvest the whole plant and press it into bricks, so the seeds are still contained in the weed the consumer buys. With those I started growing on my own, which my parents allowed without much objection. They knew what marjuana was and I think they preferred me to plant it myself, in stead of going out of my way to get it.’
Damians small plant for his recreational use, steadily grew into his own project. Something that wouldn’t have been possible if it hadn’t been for the legalisations and regulation of Cannabis in Uruguay in 2014, that made it possible to not only grow six plants at home, but also to form state-controlled growing clubs. Damian is now part owner of a Cannabis club and tey are working on their second harvest now. By getting more involved with Cannabis, Damian now sees the plant in a much bigger perspective. ‘I believe it’s important that Cannabis stops being a fashion item, something that’s ‘cool’, like an expensive commodity. It should be re-evaluated because it can be used for so much more than as a substance that affects your mind and that’s therefore prohibited. There’s is an enormous diversity in products that come from Cannabis. But before it can be used for those purposes, it’s necessary that people first accept Cannabis as a plant again. So they can start multiplying it and share knowledge about it with each other. It is also important that scientific research continues to gain ground about this species, which has been held back by decades of prohibition. People won’t stop using drugs simply because they’re banned. Humans have always used drugs, and they will never stop doing it. The problem is not consumption of drugs, it is abuse of drugs. The day we end the prohibition of drugs, is the day that we can try to solve the actual problem of the problematic use of drugs.’