There is no denying that the Latin American cannabis industry is expanding in leaps and bounds. This becomes evident as countries continue to legalise cannabis for medical purposes, and also from the proliferation of events that promote and disseminate information about cannabis use and production in the region. Argentina is following this trend, with some provinces entering into public-private partnerships that produce cannabis derivatives and getting involved with this industry through massive events that provide access to information and aid for patients, as well as connecting professionals with growers in order to empower everyone who is part of this sector. This is how the wonderful city of Tornquist saw the origin of FLIPEX, the first cannabis camp festival of 2022, organised by a handful of cannabis enthusiasts and connoisseurs with the support of the community and the approval of the mayor.
The city is 587 kilometres south from the City of Buenos Aires and has been witnessing a fight of cannabis resistance for years. The Tornquist community has experienced several episodes of violence and oppression related to medical cannabis, which led people to organise ways of defending themselves and raising public awareness. Argentine Law No. 27350, authorising the therapeutic and palliative use of cannabis, still has some grey areas left to cover, and law enforcement agents have no training regarding how to comply with the REPROCANN programme for medical cannabis access, leaving patients on their own and at risk of being arrested.
Community Support Makes the Difference
Incorporated as Baraca Regional SAS, a company that was established to embark on cannabis-related ventures and provide solutions to current problems, the FLIPEX festival holds a great potential for the development of agrotourism projects based on sustainability and agroecology. Partnerships and alliances with the Argentine National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), members of the REPROCANN programme, and professors/researchers at the Universidad Nacional del Sur allowed organisers to carry out the FLIPEX camp festival, which took place on March 18th, 19th and 20th, and featured talks, workshops and debates by health professionals, lawyers, growers, and industry experts who shared their knowledge with attendants from all over the country.
The city’s racecourse was fitted with all the essentials to welcome campers in an event for all family members. The attendance of the Tornquist community certainly stood up to the occasion, evidencing it is possible to change the way we think about cannabis. Organisers set up a multi-purpose tent with different activities addressing cannabis from a comprehensive view in terms of health and well-being. Some of the activities led by professionals in this region included massage techniques, yoga, reiki, conscious breathing exercises and biodancing.
Defending Medical Cannabis
According to the city mayor, Sergio Bordoni, the FLIPEX festival places Tornquist as a major promoter of research on therapeutic cannabis and a supporter of this kind of initiatives to make progress in the matter, while also attracting national interest. “It is important that people become aware of the opportunities that cannabis and hemp can create, as people are witnessing in other provinces of Argentina,” emphasised the mayor.
Professionals and speakers emphasised the importance of democratisation of information and scientific knowledge on cannabis, as well as the need for reshaping the definition of “recreational” and “medical” cannabis, considering that the plant encompasses and supplements therapeutic treatments for different diseases. Several co-ops, organisations, and small entrepreneurs offered their cannabis products: soaps, oil, creams, food products, and other derivatives at fair prices accessible for everyone. Professionals shared their experiences and stressed the need for complete cannabis legalisation so as to encourage this kind of events and stimulate the industry, as is the case in other countries of the world.