Interview with a famous cannabis investigator
Cannabis Ground wanted to interview someone who has suffered the consequences of growing cannabis in a country where this activity is prohibited. The country is Spain and the interviewee is a very well known writer named Marqués de Esquilache. The fifth of August 2018 is life became a nightmare. Why? Because he was “hunted” while growing cannabis in his own property. From that day on, all his life fell apart and he lost everything he had. He lost his house, his job and his family. The Spanish laws are leading him to the total social exclusion. This is the interview he gave to cannabisground. Before we continue we should let you know that our protagonist studied law and he got the best grades at the University. He got the highest grade in a subject named Natural Law, which is the philosophy behind the laws we have. This a way to say that this man has spent much time studying the nature of the law and the rights any citizen should have.
Cannabis Ground – The Police broke into your property the fifth of August. Why?
Marqués de Esquilache – Because the tip – off from a neighbor. I lived alone in the middle of the country for 10 years. I had no neighbors. Unfortunately one day a retired man bought the property beside mine. He used to be a waiter in a bar where most of the customers were cops. The guy thought he could be a hero giving me away. He felt so proud! He called a big fish and told him his neighbor was cultivating “drugs”. Once the Police receive this information they have to intervene. And that is what they did.
CG – But you weren’t a trafficker. Were you?
ME – I never ever sold a single gram. Let me explain the way I worked with my plants. Every month I had to make five articles about different strains. In the beginning I used to look for different growers and convince them to allow me to photograph their plants and interviewed them. As you can imagine the task was almost impossible. Five different growers every month! It was impossible. Therefore I began to grow different strains and write about them. They were my models. That season I was growing 154 plants of a hundred different varieties. If you cultivate to sell the plants, you choose a very productive strain and concentrate all your efforts on it. But my plants (autoflowering strains) were completely different among them. Some were very tall and others very short. Some were very productive and others not. But that was my job. My task was to study every strain and write (and photograph) about its characteristics. What kind of trafficker is going to grow 100 different varieties? It is absurd.
CG – Did the Police find any evidence of trafficking? Something like plastic bags, balances, cash money or so?
ME – Absolutely nothing. I had two notes in my pocket of 50 euros each. That is all.
CG – What did they do after that?
ME – They took me to the dungeons while waiting for the judge to decide the next step. I spent 3 days in the dungeons and after the judge set me free while waiting for the final trial. Three days is the Spanish dungeons are a nightmare. I suffered a lot.
CG – What did the Police do with your plants?
ME – They cut them all. They took them to the Police Station and I could see how they used their cellular phones to photograph themselves beside my plants. They seemed to be so proud! And I had to watch the whole show.
CG – What happened after this?
ME – Once I get home I called my best friend and told him what happened. I was feeling really down. With those plants I had articles enough for more than a year. And all the sudden I had nothing. I had to call the editors and explain them my situation. They told me how much they regretted it but I lost my job. Being a freelance, if you don’t have an article with its pictures, you don’t get paid. One day before that I was a middle class citizen. From that day on I became a jobless man. I was a jobless man waiting for a trial that could easily send me to jail for some years.
CG – What about the lawyer? Did you get a good one?
ME – Yes indeed. I contact a Law firm named SOFER. They are excellent lawyers and activists too. Even though I had no money they helped me and allow me to pay the bill writing some articles they needed. In fact they needed nothing. But they wanted to find a way to allow me to be attended without paying money.
CG – They did get good results?
ME – Excellent! I got a 14 months sentence. But since I had no previous records the judge let the sentence in suspense. This means I didn’t have to go to jail. Of course I had to be a modelic citizen for 2 years to keep my situation. If I do something illegal I will go directly to jail.
CG – Those are very good news!
ME – Don’t think it. I was given a 50.000 euros fine. I am still fighting without that. I cannot pay. I am jobless. If I don’t pay the fine in one moth I must be in jail for 30 days.
CG – That is not too bad. Is it?
ME – For me is a nightmare. When all this happened I got very sick. Two years waiting for the sentence. Two years imagining the worst situation. Two years of doubts. Two years being jobless. Because of my new financial situation my wife ( she is American) left me and came back to the US taking with her our daughter. I lost my freedom, my job, my health and my reputation in just few days.
CG – What happened with your health?
ME – My body reacted very badly and I developed some serious diseases. It somatized all that suffering and I got severely sick. I prefer not to talk about it. But I must say that these diseases have made my life miserable. And, of course, I lost my job because I had nothing to photograph and write about.
CG – Why did you lose your reputation?
ME – I lived very close to a little village where my daughter went to school. In this village live less than 1000 inhabitants. As this occurred in summer and the media has no news in this time, all the newspapers and televisions talked about me and they presented me as a narco. The whole media kept talking about me. Can you figure out what that represents for a 10 years old girl? As I told you before, she and my wife went back to the US. I have never seen her again. And my daughter was all for me.
CG – Why do you say this situation is leading you to total social exclusion?
ME – Because Spanish Public Treasury is after me all the time. If I get paid a single euro the money is immediately confiscated. Therefore, I cannot have a bank account. No company hires my services because they don’t want to work with someone who has problems with this organism. The only chance I have to get a job is if I get paid in black. And nowadays this is almost impossible in Spain. If I work, the Spanish Public Treasury gets my money. I will never be able to pay 50.000 euros. Therefore, I will always be an outcast and a socially excluded. Because of this situation, my health is getting worse every day. I practically cannot walk. I am 60 years old and being so old my hopes to recuperate are vanishing day after day.
CG – What would you say to the politicians who regulate the legal situation of cannabis in Spain?
ME – I would say what Jack Herer said one during one of his trials in the court : “You cannot prohibit to grow a plant that naturally thrives in this planet”. I am indignant. Who is someone to tell me what I can cultivate in my garden? You can prohibit me to sell my plants. But you cannot prohibit cultivating a plant that thrives in our planet. The same politicians who allow and promote tobacco and alcohol. It is too hypocrite!
CG – Can you give a good tip for the thousands of cannabis who want to cultivate their own marijuana?
ME – Yes indeed. I always write in my articles about being extremely discreet. In Spain is ruling now the Socialist Party. Before it was the right wing party (PP). They are the same. People don’t know that PP members belong to the Opus Dai (God’s work). They are Catholic fundamentalists that will never ever accept the legalization of cannabis. So, please, be discreet if you don’t want to see how your life falls apart. And I asked everyone who grows cannabis to do something real for the legalization. Be a grower and an activist too.