Living in the melting pot of the USA, American culture can often be hard to pinpoint. Perhaps that’s why we’re so drawn to holidays like Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo.

Here in the states, your typical May 5th consists of going out, eating more guac than usual, and sipping a few margaritas. In major cities, or cities where large pockets of Mexican-Americans have settled, you might enjoy bigger cultural celebrations that honor Mexican heritage as a whole. Between the parades, mariachi bands, folk dancing, ornate costumes, and -of course- that unbeatable food, Mexico’s lively, colorful, definitive culture is rather impossible not to love. It makes total sense that we want to embrace that festive connection, too.

To bring a little mindfulness to your Cinco celebration, we put together some 5/5 know-how, along with a few cannabis-related factoids about our nation’s southerly neighbor.

5/5 ≠ 7/4

When asked, many people think Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s version of Independence Day- but it’s not. Mexico recognizes Independence Day on September 16– the day the War of Independence began in 1810. The significance of May 5th relates to an entirely different fight: the Franco-Mexican war.

During one particular, day-long battle on 5/5/1862, France invaded the city of Puebla; their troops coming in at 6000 men strong. Underprepared Mexico was outnumbered 3:1! Yet as the holiday nature suggests, Mexico managed an against-the-odds victory. This war was said to generate over a thousand battles. Still, everyone loves an underdog win, thus the Battle of Puebla became fondly symbolic. And now you know.

The taste of Mexico

Mexico’s food and libations are top-notch. But did you know some of the best cannabis grows there, too? Indigenous cannabis plants in Mexico tend to be Sativa strains, and Acapulco Gold is one of the most popular sativa ‘children’ of them all. Named for its geographic roots and glowing color, “AG” has rave reviews across the board for taste, aroma and THC potency. If you’re already familiar with this strain, perhaps you’ve heard the song named after it?

Muchas gracias, Mexico

Beyond Mexico’s prime plants, the country can also take partial credit for America’s initial connection with smokable cannabis. During the Mexican Revolution of 1910, over 200,000 Mexican civilians sought refuge by crossing into South Texas. When they came, the plants came, too.  At the very same time, cannabis was filtering in by sea, arriving with sailors and Caribbean immigrants in New Orleans. Exactly how its use spread from these two distinct immigrant communities to the rest of the country isn’t crystal clear. What we can safely say is that Mexico had a strong hand in our nation’s premiere access to cannabis.

The reason that access is still a work-in-progress? It’s due to some unfortunate timing.

For not long after the plant began to popularize, circa the 1930’s, prohibition was repealed. That’s when cannabis became the shiny new criminalized target. And to make matters worse, given its trace back to black and Mexican immigrant communities, the anti-marijuana movement became (intentionally) intertwined with racial tensions. This only further fueled the fire of propaganda that aimed to position the “dangerous” and “crazy” plant -and anyone associated with it- as an outright threat. “How convenient…” you might say.

Undoing the century-old stigma surrounding cannabis, and correcting the still-prevalent  social injustices born from that stigma, is imperative. Recent progress is astounding, yet there’s so much work to be done. Many still have no idea how nature’s revered medicine became demonized; illicit. Nor is it realized how many groups of people have been further marginalized by mere association of this misunderstood botanical. In the cannabis community and beyond, untangling (and sharing!) the historical “whys” is a key step towards reforming marijuana law, and its reputation.

While history can be a bit of a downer amid this celebratory topic, it’s far too important to overlook. But, to lift you back up…

Time for a snack

Who’s hungry? These Mexican Street Corn Chicken Tacos with Raw Cannabis Chimichurri are Cinco-perfect, but honestly, we’d eat them any night of the week.

Elotes (aka, street tacos) are filled with chicken, grilled corn, tangy cream, cheese, chilis, and a bright squeeze of lime. The starring condiment is an irresistible chimichurri sauce, which uses fresh cannabis leaves as a flavor component, and is dosed with cannabis-infused coconut oil.

To score the recipe: pick up a copy of Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen by Stephanie Hua with Coreen Carroll. It’s a must-have for any aspiring Cannachef!

For a less involved infusion, a Frosty Mango Margarita gets garnished with a simple dropper-full of your favorite tincture. It’s a classic Mexican favorite, with an unexpected herbal twist.

We took inspiration from self-taught cook Serene Hererra, blogger of House of Yumm. (One look at her instagram will tell you: this girl knows her Tex Mex.)

Recipe: House of Yumm’s Mango Margarita

The canna-cinco connection?

Just like 4/20, Cinco de Mayo falls on a weekend this year. And just like 4/20, it’s got potential to be a low pressure, high fun-factor kind of day. The connection doesn’t go much beyond that- but we sure did have fun digging in to learn a bit more about the holiday, and Mexico’s influence on cannabis… which runs deeper that you might expect!

Have a super Cinco. ✌️🇲🇽