Sunday, March 24, 2019

"We Are Mary Jane" Exhibit in Barcelona Celebrates Worldwide Women of Weed

Celebrating Women’s Herstory Month, “We Are Mary Jane,” an exhibit presenting 12 female cannabis activists from around the world, opened on March 14 at the breathtakingly beautiful Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum in Barcelona.

I was fortunate enough to attend the opening party, and be included in the exhibit among these inspiring women.

Opening the exhibit is “The Hash Queen” Mila Jansen, who as a single mother invented The Pollinator, a machine used to make hash, while observing a clothes dryer’s tumbling action. Mila published an autobiography last year and was present at the opening and the coinciding Spannabis show with a booth where she signed copies of her book.

Another grand dame in the exhibit is Michka Seeliger-Chatelain, a Paris-based activist and author who has become the first woman I know of to have a cannabis strain named after her, available from Sensi Seeds. Michka’s bestselling books on cannabis have been translated into English and Spanish, and I traded a Tokin’ Woman book for her beautifully written (in French) autobiography De La Main Gauche (From the Left Hand).

Carola Pérez, the Madrid-based medical marijuana activist who spoke eloquently at the ICBC conference that coincided with the exhibit opening, is also represented, and her TEDx Talk is included. “Abuela Marihuana” Fernanda de la Figuera, a 77-year-old activist who grows her own marijuana and runs a social club in Spain, was included and present at the event.

“Señora Cannabis” Alicia Castilla of Uruguay is quoted saying, “I would love to toke with Saint Hildegard” (one of my Tokin’ Women). Castilla was imprisoned for 94 days at the age of 66 after police discovered 29 unsexed marijuana seedlings at her home in 2011. She has the most radical statement in the exhibit, saying, “I see two futures: one masculine, to get all kinds of commercial benefits from the plant, to transform it into a commodity, and in which the products obtained are sold at high prices, even with misleading advertising. The other, feminine, to learn to cultivate it according to personal needs, to recognize the properties of each variety, to discover the way to use it, in each case, according to the needs of the patient, in a direct relationship with the plant and without the interference of money.”

Also represented are the “Princess of Pot,” Canadian activist Jodie Emery; Debora Paulino, pioneer hemp cultivator at the Obelisk Farm in Latvia; and the multitalented Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s eldest daughter who is a cannabis cookbook author.

Americans represented are California-based activist and author Mikki Norris, and “Dr.” Dina of Los Angeles who notes that, “Brownie Mary paved the way for all of us.” Mary Rathbun (aka Brownie Mary) was the San Francisco-based activist who became famous for baking pot brownies for AIDS patients in the early days of medical marijuana activism.

I am included with a statement about our Herstory and an open letter I wrote to Hillary Clinton while she was running for president. A letter from feminist activist Francesca Brivio Grill to Martin Vizcarra, the president of Peru, is also included.

A Tokin’ Women book has been donated to the Museum, which seems necessary since a book published by the museum contains a spread of 40 famous marijuana users including only two women, both associated with powerful men (Marianne Faithful and Frida Kahlo).

Norris’s statement summed up the exhibit well: “I hope that many more women will engage with cannabis businesses to bring more compassion and greater diversity to people of all genders, races, religions, classes, ethnicities, persuasions, etc. Cannabis has a way of bringing people from various backgrounds together making us more empathetic and open towards each other, so diversity is the key to its future.”

The “We Are Mary Jane” exhibit, with materials presented in English, Spanish and Catalan, plus a list of worldwide women-run cannabis activist organizations, will be open with free entry through September 29, 2019. Don’t miss the full museum, housed in a fabulously restored 15-century palace, and plan to take the 80-minute audiotour of the extensive collection. The museum is open daily from 10am-10 pm.

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