Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Going Green: The Copa Canabica

Tudo Bom? Tudo Legal!!

I’m a firm believer in God/the universe bringing each person and situation into your life for a specific reason. Each person has a lesson, if we can really take the time to look at it and appreciate them for what and who they are. So when another almost 6 foot tall brown girl named Sativa walked into my life, I figured we could have fun turning Buenos Aires upside down, I didn’t imagine that she would teach me so much about myself.

It’s not often that you meet someone who is willing to completely embrace the essence of their individuality so fully, while still maintaining their belief in their complete connection with the universal being. It’s often off-putting to people like me who have been so conditioned to pay mind to external measures of achievement and normality. Though, I’ve taken on what will be a life long journey of decolonizing myself from societal restrictions, I know that I continue to stumble over my own limited definitions of “should” and “should be”…often formed by a very geopolitical view of my surroundings.

As a self described extra-terrestrial, and employee of the universe, each day I became more and more impressed with Sativa’s ability to completely embrace and manifest her desired reality. She woke up smiling, went to bed smiling, and at some point just let me know that no matter what I ever did to her, she would forgive me because she loved me. She always ran into the right person at the right time, and was never afraid to express exactly what she wanted.

I think the most impressive part of her character to a self-diagnosed “Life Add-er” like me was her ability to bravely embrace her decisions while being flexible to what the universe brought her.

Our simple friendship ended up in a three week cohabitation, and my roommates and I were brought into the interesting adventure of her life and work. Sativa, as you might have been able to guess from her name is a marijuana writer, activist, model, talk show host. Her home base now in San Franciso, during the “harsh” California winters she lives and works in different parts of the world covering the world Canibus Politics.

I’ll just say now that I am definite supporter in the decriminalization and legalization of Cannibus. First of all, the audacity of a government to criminalize the growing and use of a PLANT for it’s own benefits is beyond infuriating. Second of all, the uses of this magical plant are endless way beyond the beauty of THC. The worst side effects seem to be like the most benign of the dwarfs—sleepy, hungry, and happy. The amount of people of color who are locked up on simple marijuana charges actually makes me want to vomit a bit. And the “war on drugs”, another ideological war of false pretense, as we all know, (and which the current Drug Czar has finally admitted) is just another method of locking up people of color and undesirables.

All this said, my last touch with Cannibus politics was in 10th grade, when I wrote a 20 page paper on the legalization of Marijuana. If you want to call my refusal to change my topic, and my disinterested acceptance of the only C I would ever receive in English, valiant, I may have in the past. J

But, I must say that I have a new found respect for those who are fighting in the streets and in the court rooms for Marijuana, instead of on their back porch with a Dutch after a hard day like most Americans. To publicly claim and fight for something that most have become used to hiding in polite company.

Through Sativa, we have been introduced to countless Argentine growers, smokers, writers, political activists, and supporters of this controversial plant. We’ve learned that in Argentina, similar to in California, though the higher courts have decriminalized marijuana it is still a local offense. There is much less of a stigma attatched to marijuana here—as there was not as much of the government propoganda that the United States pushed. People see it as something that you should do in your home, behind closed doors, rather than such a moral misgiving of the lazy and lost youth. But I do have plenty of friends who light up in the streets, whether as their own form of protest or because cops will often walk right by you.

The latest adventure through the world of green was the clandestine but oh-so-legendary Canibus Cup of Buenos Aires. In this annual event that happens in most major cities around the world, the underground community of growers and activists, and aficionados come together in a democratic process to judge whose ganga strain is the most pleasing to tha people!

Our host, Sativa would learn of the super exclusive event through some of the biggest activists in the South American pot activist community, and they would release the secret location the morning of the event.

When Sativa received a text from her activist friend, late the night before telling us to meet at the location at 9 she told us. “It must be 9 at night, what kind of stoner is going to get up EARLY?”

We all shrugged, and figured that the experienced one probably had a better idea of how these things work than we did, and we all slept pretty late into the afternoon. I cooked a big dinner then we went to visit a friend at a beautiful bar.

At around 2pm, Sativa woke up and with a preoccupied look on her face.

“I think we are missing the Canibus Cup,” she said worriedly, as we all ran around getting ourselves ready as quickly as possible.

I strapped up with my camera, laced up by Pocahauntus boots and I was ready to infiltrate and document this most curious event.

We went flying to the secret lugar, which was in a nice part of town in a bar cheto. One of Sativa’s friends came to get us, led us through a back corridor, through the back of the kitchen, and then we walked into the yellow lit cloud of a bar.

The view upon entering the Copa Canabica

Comparing and bartering the goods

Growers were posted around with huge zip lock bags of their plants for others to sample and take along with them. Huge blunts, joints, circulated, as huge Valcano balloons inflated and deflated and changed hands and breath. The attenders traded tips, cards, buds, seeds, stories, and generally enjoyed being in company of others who shared the same interests!

Sativa was ecstatic to work the crowd, and at some point sighed and said whistfully

“It is so nice to be around my community.”

Argentine activists and writers from Haze Magazine
Argentine cannibus activists, writers, and cultivators

She was even asked to hand out the prizes to the announced winners, all types of green, growing, goodies including lamps, and scissors, seeds, and books.

The premios were awesome goodie bags fit for king growers

It could have had something to do with the fact that Sativa, my roommate and I were some of the only girls in the entire event of around 100 people, but the community was incredibly welcoming and friendly. We made friends with growers all over Buenos Aires and Argentina, and in general everyone was sweet, considerate, loving, and polite. Can you imagine that assessment of a crowd at a booze summit? I think not. (Obama and Skippy's meeting doesn't count, kids!)

Bomb dj de reggae y dancehall spinning all day long

The beer was free, but the crowd hardly drank. Instead, we passed the hours dancing to a dj spinning reggae and talking philosophically to new friends and growers. It was one large communion of laughter among a crowd of agriculturalists, college graduates, writers, activists, politicians, business owners, and students who just happened to also be very passionate about a plant! It was not quite the stereotypical image of a weed centered event, in that no one got thrown in jail for some stupidity, no one ate 38 cheeseburgers, and the night didn't dissolve into a "drug-crazed abandon" of murder and loss of morals. Sativa couldn't have been more overjoyed!

"This is the culture that I like to promote--the stoner intelligencia!" She commented to me. "All of the movies that come out about stoners are stupid. The characters do dumb things, they have dumb ideas, and they lead uninspired lives. There are so many people that are uninformed and think that marijuana makes you dumb or can cause addictions. With my work, I want to uncover the large society of brilliant smokers. There are so many of us who are educated, doing awesome things, and just like to smoke a lot of doobies."

The hours that we were there I couldn't help but think how much more I would like bars if they were filled with smokers rather than drinkers. Gone would be the constant threat of fights and violence, gone would be the pathetic image of tiny girls clutching on to toilet stalls, of having to refuse to let friends drive, of deaths caused by alcohol poisoning, of conversations reduced to unintelligible screams. The counter-intution of the outlawing of a pacifying plant does not escape me...

The growers left huge chunks of color buds in the tip jar, and though most preferred not to sell, they would willingly give or share their harvests with anyone who was around. This beautiful system of barter left my roommate with a jam jar of green to take home for her birthday, and a promise of a new plant for the house. (This promise was later fulfilled).

Needless to say, after my excursion, I was tired and hungry from all of my picture taking and filming....so we wandered on down to get some awesome pumpkin curry at this Indian restaurant with some of the growers. Perfect ending, to an awesome day, and hopefully this song can make your day too!


  1. haaa! wicked! i love you, mi hermana africa! thanks so much for capturing those epic moments and documenting a bit of the scene!

    you inspire me, girl, and as i sit here on your bed--which i still haven't slept in, even though you're due to come wake me up in 20 minutes), i can imagine that our future is filled with lots more adventures en verde. you're a rad sister to share them with!

    i love you! thank you!

  2. dude

    i'm missing the copa this time, i really wanted to go.

    anyway, i was googling weed as always, and i was wondering whether anyone who lives in buenos would like to gimme a heads up for some buds?

    if thats possible...

    i honestly believe the contrary of what brasilians say of argentinians