How Cannabis Creative Mennlay Aggrey Celebrates 4/20
The author of ‘The Art of Weed Butter’ shares her itinerary for high adventures in Mexico City.
From growing flower at a legacy cannabis farm in Humboldt County, California, to DJing parties in Brooklyn, Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey has worn many hats. When her book, The Art of Weed Butter, debuted in 2019, she relocated to Mexico City to better understand the relationship between food, herbs, and people throughout the world.
Since joining the CDMX community, Aggrey founded nonprofit dinner series Cenas Sin Fronteras and co-founded CBD brand Xula with Karina Primelles. She also started co-hosting Broccoli Talk, a podcast for cannabis lovers, with yours truly.
In celebration of the day we honor a plant that connects us all, I caught up with Aggrey about her 4/20 rituals, what this unofficial holiday means to her and the places she recommends checking out when enjoying this city post-sesh. Here is how Mennlay Aggrey spends her day off—especially when it lands on 4/20.
Lauren Yoshiko: What does 4/20 mean to you?
Mennlay Aggrey: As a holiday, I interpret it as a time to enjoy the power of herb with pride—without stigma or judgment. A time to celebrate the outlaws, the ones left out of society. This day is also a bittersweet moment to celebrate how far we’ve come with legislation and providing an herb that truly helps us become better as a society while also being a grave observation for our brothers and sisters whose lives are rotting away in the shameful prison-industrial complex for this herb.
Do Mexico City locals celebrate anywhere in particular?
The front of the senate building is still a place where many gather involuntarily to smoke and gather. Right before the pandemic, I was able to DJ a very beautiful celebration where plants were growing—real cannabis plants—right below the senate floor. Just being there is a small protest and reminder to lawmakers that although cannabis might be legal to possess and grow in small amounts as citizens, there still is a great amount of work to do to ensure that the farmers who have been growing for centuries are protected both monetarily but also from the cartels—aka legacy markets of Mexico.
Do you have any particular 4/20 rituals?
It’s really important for me to mourn and take witness of how this plant has been villainized, ripping through the communities I’ve grown up in—the communities I represent in work and in philanthropy. Paying my respects and meditation on the Black and Brown communities that have been ravaged by the war on drugs is indeed something I try to honor daily but particularly today. This year, if possible, I would like to take on a new ritual of not working. Like, no work whatsoever.
What are your favorite Mexico City destinations that go well with weed?
Arca Tierra is a collective that seeks to heal our earth by employing regenerative and traditional agriculture techniques. You can book a sunrise experience with them that includes a breakfast with ingredients from their chinampa/farm. It’s an incredible place to spend the morning softly blazed in community with an area that signifies what Mexico City would’ve been like in its precolonial era. Another one of my favorite places to be low-dose infused by weed is Mercado Jamaica—the famous and no-frills flower market with the most impressive selection of flowers, herbs, produce and plants.
I haven’t been since the pandemic started, but Biblioteca de México has been a secret oasis in the city to read surrounded by books or plants. It’s a library/mini-museum with an incredible courtyard and large rooms with desks, leather chairs and book stacks high to the ceiling where you can work, research, and quietly hang while high. It’s perfect because no one is trying to talk to you and you can really be in your own world.
You have to book a reservation, but it’s 100% worth it to try to visit Casa Orgánica, just 30 minutes outside of Mexico City. Its architecture is an absolute treat for the senses and the energy is undeniably perfect for 420 whether you’re stoned or not.
What about viewing recommendations for winding down this perfect, weed-fueled day off?
Some will be disappointed at me for this, but I recently started to rewatch Master Of None and it was the perfect mix of comedy, love, heartache, tragedy, and a nostalgia for New York and Black people. I’ve missed being Black in the U.S. and lately I’ve been consuming a lot of films that make me feel good, calm, and at ease about who I am and what I proudly represent.
There’s an avant-garde short, Split Ends, I Feel Wonderful, directed by Akosua Adoma Owusu that I’m looking forward to watching over again and again with a joint and hair comb. And speaking of nostalgia, Mati Diop’s version of the Nollywood classic, Atlantiques, is a stunning, haunting, eerie, tragically beautiful story about love and immigration filmed in Senegal. As a retired music geek, I’ve been obsessed by its score, comboed by heartthrob, Fatima Al Quadiri—so much so that I bought the original motion picture soundtrack on vinyl.