Amazing Women in Weed-the Weed Granny

April 17, 2024

Fernanda de la Figuera

Life before the Weed Granny

While much isn’t known about Fernanda de la Figuera’s childhood, she was born into a conservative family on October 20, 1943, in Madrid, Spain. Long before she became Abuela Marijuana or the Weed Granny, she remained in Madrid for her childhood and into University, where she studied journalism and worked in the cultural section. Armed with her rebellious and combative spirit, she excelled in her work first as a reporter, and then as a real estate agent. When she began advocating for legal cannabis, that spirit helped her immensely.

The Green Fight

The first time de la Figuera smoked weed was in 1967 when she visited London and Paris, but she knew it by sight long before. She had seen it when hanging out with jazz musicians, Bohemians, and soldiers in Madrid. While Spain was under the control of the brutal dictator Francisco Franco, he had a fairly benign view of weed. In fact, in 1967, he established a law that allowed for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and research purposes. make a collective agreement to grow their amount of cannabis together and restrict distribution to other members of the group only. Under those laws, people often form cannabis associations, in which a group of people. This legal gray area led the Weed Granny to take advantage of this loophole and co-founded the ARSEC (Asociación Ramón Santos de Estudios sobre el Cannabis de Andalucía) in 1973. It was this same year she began her activism for legal weed in Spain. In 1993, Barcelona Activists publicly stated that their group of 100 members would be cooperatively planting 225 cannabis plants in an outdoor field, for personal use. This led to a raid and 4 members, including de la Figuera, were arrested. She went to trial in 1995 and obtained the first registered acquittal in Spain. the judge also awarded her as the first legal cannabis grower in Spain. She managed to stay under the radar for the next 15 years when she would be arrested again. The time in between was peppered with activism, forming and representing numerous cannabis corporations and parties, and even in 2003, she became the President political Cannabis Party, Green Light,  in Spain. This organization is part of the European Coalition for Fair and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD).​ ENCOD was the organization that promoted the European Parliament to approve a motion calling on States to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis in January 2019. In 2010, she co-founded Marias X Maria, a cannabis club by and for women, where they offered tastings, meetings, and training classes in the field of cannabis. It was also in 2010 when she was arrested for the second time for growing and distributing cannabis. She was again acquitted in the case. She managed to stay on the right side of the judge bench up until 2019, following her 2014 arrest at the age of 76, for cultivating and distributing cannabis. Her home was raided and she turned up over 180 plants in her back garden. She explained that she was growing them with and for her co-op, but was still arrested. This time when she stood trial, she faced a 4 year sentence but was ultimately sentenced to 9 months in prison. She did not go down without a fight, though. With the support of hundreds of other activists and her sharp tongue, she was prepared to fight for what she believed in. She never saw jail time, as her sentence was less than the 2-year minimum sentence required. She won a symbolic victory just from her show of support.

The Weed Granny passed away in Spain on April 22, 2022, at the age of 78. She was growing her cannabis up until the day she died, leaving behind her legacy. She is still regarded as one of the most influential weed activists of her time and the leader of the cannabis movement in Spain.