'The Economist', 'a financial' magazine with a distinctly materialistic outlook, free market thinking, and a penchant for using a 'pot of puns', has announced an "Earth's got Talent', their nomination for 'Country of the Year'. As they explain, they could have chosen on the basis of increased GDP, low debt, or surviving financial tribulations, and opted for South Sudan, Estonia or Ireland. Instead they've chosen on the basis of virtue and opted for a path-breaker. For a state, that if it's 'experimental' policies on cannabis were replicated across nations, it might result in ostracising and nullifying a major criminal element.
The editors have chosen....Uruguay.
It's a place that sits off-radar for the Anglo-Saxon chatteratti, only comeing into focus in time for the next football World Cup, or when gay marriage and weed smoking are legalised. Yet it's a place that has a habit of re-occurring on-radar in our travels. A place; for when then the default button needs resetting, a place for rebooting.
As happens when a new place is visited, as it becomes more familiar, so your internal radar picks up on references. That iconic hempen profile materialises in differing places. It's shadow replicated in graffiti, on posters and shopping bags. Now as a spoof. The front page of this morning's paper, 'La Republica', carries a story about the unfurling of the new national team's football strip. Colour nationalism is still important, the shirt is still that recognisable celestial sky blue, the interest lies in the shorts. They're to be emblazoned with a new logo: the cannabis sativa leaf.