In 2005, Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey first started cultivating cannabis in California. Since then, it's touched every part of her life. It's been a source of income, medicine, practice, art, and research. Aggrey's the author of “The Art of Weed Butter" and the co-founder of hemp and herbal brand Xula.
In 2016, she moved to Mexico City, where she's researched the links between cannabis, food, and Mexico's African diaspora.
“All of these topics are subjects I've been researching either indirectly or directly for the past several years," Aggrey told me. “As someone who has been legally in the cannabis space for about 17 years, and living here in Mexico…in a very conceptual way, my research has helped me endure, understand, and appreciate my life here in Mexico as a Black woman."
She also founded Cenas Sin Fronteras, “a charity dinner project for Black and Brown folks at the borderlands" in Mexico City. “I created Cenas out of desperation to do something in response to the xenophobic and racist policies of the U.S. Through food, art, music, and gathering, Cenas Sin Fronteras was set out to be an ongoing series of dinners examining the invisible and visible lines that connect us."
The story behind Xula
Xula is a colloquial Mexican term. “For us, Xula is defined as chill, intelligent, cute, balanced — to feel good in one's own skin. That's what we aim to create in the lives of those who use our products," Aggrey said.
Early on, Aggrey and her co-founder Karina Primelles grew hemp on a family-owned farm in the Latgawa, Upland Takelma, and Cow Creek Umpqua territories in Southern Oregon.
Primelles and Aggrey founded Xula “out of respect and understanding … for the plant and plant-medicine. We recognized the devastating lack of products specifically targeted to nurture our bodies — bodies with wombs, vaginas, bodies that have periods. The grave lack of representation of Black and Latina individuals like us also galvanized us to build something not just for ourselves, but for our communities."
Here are the five weed products Aggrey can't live without.
Organic, homegrown cannabis
“My personal grow and cured stash of any cannabis strain — whether THC or CBD-dominant — is my number one cannabis must-have. There's nothing more simple and powerful than growing your own organically, whether that is cannabis or any herb or plant."
uff! (moon + womb) tincture from Xula
The Xula uff! tincture contains 500 milligrams of CBD and 100 milligrams of CBG, along with passionflower, mugwort, and other herbs. “We've crafted the herbs specifically to ease menstrual cramping, back pain from menstruation, and to lessen the pains of other ailments associated with issues like endometriosis or fibromyalgia."
Broccoli Magazine is led by an all-women team, and Aggrey hosts their podcast with friend and fellow contributing editor Lauren Yoshiko. "It's the best way as a cannabis creative and professional to stay informed and updated on the art, trends, colleagues, and evolution of the cannabis space."
Airplane Mode smoking blend from Barbari
“[Airplane Mode] is the most delicious and fragrant addition that I add to my homegrown herb in a joint. I'm the type of person that is sometimes activated by weed, so incorporating other herbs to induce more calm is my jam."
Barbari was founded by Meryl Montgomery and Valarie Sakota in 2016. It started with an herbal spliff — marrying cannabis with things like jasmine, sage, and raspberry.
Membership to the Floret Coalition
“The Floret Coalition is an anti-racist collective of 130+ cannabis and cannabis adjacent brands raising funds and awareness for vetted organizations prioritizing the needs of Black, Latin, and Indigenous communities."
In its first year, the Floret Coalition's members donated over $120,000 to numerous organizations, including My Sistah's House, which helps provide safe and secure housing for the LGBTQ community in Memphis, Tennessee.
Besides Aggrey, the Floret Coalition's board includes Kassia Graham, the Director of Community & Strategy for Cannaclusive, home to cannabis business resource database InclusiveBase, and Maya Shaw, a cannabis advocate in Richmond, Virginia.
Photo courtesy of Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey