17 May 2009


I'm going on vacation to the Iguazú Falls today. Marisa and I will be lodging on the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu, from where we'll the falls from both sides of the border. I'll share the experience when I come back, next Saturday. See you!

04 May 2009

Marijuana March 2009 in Rosario

Marcha Mundial por la Marihuana Rosario 2009Last Saturday it was the tenth edition of the Global Marijuana March, and Rosario wouldn't be left out of it, so an event for the legalization of the private use of cannabis was scheduled. Yours truly hasn't even had a tobacco cigarette in his life, but I do support the right of people to smoke whatever they want provided they don't hurt anyone else, so I attended just to see what it was all about.

The meeting place was the spot beside the Planetarium, within the Parque Urquiza, and the time was 3 PM. Marisa and I had a very late lunch, and we couldn't make it until after 4 PM. I had my doubts, because it was supposedly a march, i.e. people would not stay there just waiting for us to come. But there was no march, only fairly scattered groups sitting in the park. Some activists had mounted stands and were giving out pamphlets explaining what marijuana is, the kind of care you must take if you're going to smoke it or eat it, etc.; others asked for the legalization of cultivation for private use and for government-sponsored strategies of damage reduction. A guy walked around disguised as the cannabis plant, in a green foam rubber suit, and people took pictures of themselves with him.

It was sunny and warm, a typical day for this weird autumn. Like ourselves, many had brought thermos and mate, while of course more than a few others were smoking joints. It was all rather calm, with people coming and leaving all the time, while joggers ran and elderly couples strolled by the site, probably curious but not seemingly alarmed. We stayed until our mate ran out, then left for a walk down the coast.

Anything to do with cannabis is illegal in Argentina, which seems rather stupid. As in many other places, the victims are the consumers: if they're caught, they're subject to all-too-frequent police abuse, and if they become addicted, they get treated like criminals. Lots of people sell, buy and smoke marijuana in bars and discos, and the law against it only serves to set up a bribe system benefitting the police and the authorities. Of course, the ones who make money selling bad-quality drugs to the poor are elsewhere.

Banning the possession of marijuana for private use has been deemed unconstitutional several times (per Article 19 of the Constitution, such things are "exempt from the authority of magistrates"). The Supreme Court is currently withholding its position, but it seems the majority wants the repressive law to be repealed.