Lucia Topolansky (Matilde Campodonico, AP)

Portrait of a First Lady: Real talk with Uruguayan senator Lucia Topolansky

Cannabist: I’ve seen photos of the land. It looks very pretty.

Topolansky: And that is also where we are going to die. We are going to build an agrarian school so that the day we are gone the children of our neighborhood will have a place to be. Every day there is more technology involved in the production process, and one has to learn about biological matters, irrigation systems, the cold chain — there are many things. Some people still think that farming is a primitive thing. They are totally wrong. A seed has a lot of investigation inside. For us imported seeds are very expensive, but we understand the reason, because there are many people who studied to produce that seed, to make it grow a particular flower or a particular tomato type. So it is a beautiful adventure because it is always changing.

Cannabist: Yes, it’s true. Similar to the politics. And speaking of, does your term end in October?

Topolansky: No, the term ends on February 15th. The elections are in October. On February 15th the Parliament changes. But we are fighting for the Frente Amplio (the Broad Front party, of which Topolansky and Mujica are members) to continue being the government.

Cannabist: What is your hope for October’s election?

Topolansky: I believe that I will win, because if one goes into a battle thinking of losing, then it is already lost.

Uruguay’s legalization: Would you pay these dues to join a pot-growing club?

Cannabist: And what about your husband’s office — will you ever run for president?

Topolansky: No, no, it’s too big for me. It is a task that I wish to no one, now that I saw it from a near distance. Many times presidents are alone in their decisions. I start with Confucius’ premise that says no ruler has bad intentions, everybody wants good for their people. If they succeed or not is another problem. So when a new period begins, one can see a promising panorama — and sometimes reality is harder and you cannot do what you want. That’s why when Mujica met Obama, he pointed out that his concerns are reflected in the amount of gray hair that he got (while president).

Cannabist: And you’re not interested in testing out that theory.

Topolansky: There will be other people more capable than me for the task.

Cannabist: What do you feel Mujica’s term as president will be remembered for?

Topolansky: Uruguayans are going to miss a president that is so close to them, one who considers himself as a regular citizen — only with more responsibilities — and one that is capable of speaking with a child, an older man, a worker, a businessman, and always speak in the same way. He broke all formalities in the presidential world, in Uruguay and a little bit in the world.