Cooking with Cannabis

Like most Americans my age, the first weed I smoked was Mexican. It was brown, in a brick, and had seeds and stems. How I got stoned is a miracle. Later in Mexico, where I was writing a book, I got stoned on California-cultivated weed smuggled by a gringo across the Rio Grande from North to South. It was green, had no stems or seeds and was known as “sinsemilla”—weed without seeds—an invention of North Coast farmers.

Recently, I spent a couple of days with two young Mexicans who live and work south of the border, and who aim to make marijuana fun.

Luis and Laura, a husband and wife, both smoked marijuana separately and secretly when they first dated. When she learned he was getting stoned without her, she was pissed. Now, when they talk about their early romantic days they make them sound like scenes from a Hollywood screwball comedy.

Luis and Laura call themselves “pachecos,” which is slang for stoners. He’s a real estate lawyer; she works in HR for a small company. They belong to a cannabis collective and host an annual cannabis festival in Querétaro, a conservative enclave near Mexico City.

This summer, on a working vacation in California, they were delighted to meet a legendary cannabis grower and dealer who gave them weed to smoke and treated them to Chinese food. We listened to Luis and Laura talk about some of their favorite dishes that are infused with cannabis. My mouth watered. I was ready to fly to Mexico and eat foods rarely—if ever—available in California, even to Mexicans.

One of Luis and Laura’s favorite foods is guacamole with cannabis. Another is “pambazo,” a kind of Mexican bread that’s hollowed out, filled with “papas”—potatoes—and chorizo, dripped in a red sauce and deep-fried in cannabis-infused olive oil. Laura’s favorite is “tlayudas,” a Mexican version of pizza from the state of Oaxaca, with beans, cheese and avocado; also infused with cannabis.

For a sweet tooth, there are “chorros” with cannabis and hot chocolate. Laura promises to make me her favorite foods. Mexicans have come a long way since the days when Pancho Villa sang about “la cucaracha,” a comical cockroach that can’t get enough marijuana to smoke. Viva Mexico! Viva los pachecos and their cuisine!

Jonah Raskin is the author of “Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War.”
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