I was recently invited to attend “Humo en la Montaña”––the first Cannabis Cup in Chiapas, Mexico. Mexico’s southeasternmost state has a long and rich history with the cannabis plant, dating back to the 16th century when it was transplanted here by the conquistadors. What’s new is the introduction of testing for purity and potency, as well as integration into the broader global cannabis culture with all of its dab bars and terp profiles.
The Dec. 17-18 event was organized by a recently formed regional cannabis council called Mesoamericanna and my good friends who collectively compose a regional Chiapanecan cannabis and cultivation brand called Simio Autocultivo.
The purpose of this Cup was to bring together cannabis cultivators and enthusiasts from Chiapas, Mexico to test the quality, cleanliness and potency of their strains––and to build and celebrate the cannabis community in this state.
Though cannabis was made federally legal across Mexico for private, recreational use in June of 2021, the regulations around retail and commercial transactions involving the plant are still suspended in a legally ambiguous limbo.
There are no legally compliant storefronts selling cannabis in Mexico, though it’s readily available for purchase in many smoke shops and underground markets around the country.
After having been incidentally exposed to a lot of the growing pains of the legal cannabis industry in the United States thanks to my position in the emergent psychedelic ecosystem (and budding industry, which features many of the same players from the cannabis space), my experience at Humo en la Montaña was extraordinarily refreshing.
The event maintained a distinctly independent and community-minded presence without compromising on the quality or integrity of the cannabis brands and startups in attendance. Chiapas’ first cannabis lawyer had a booth, where he showed me his government-issued license permitting him to cultivate, transport and possess cannabis.
There was a farmers market set up where different cannabis entrepreneurs sold and traded their proprietary strains with names like Pan de Muerto (Bread of Death) and Especial Uno (Special One). There were cannabis-infused gourmet chocolates, French cheese and craft beer. And of course, numerous cannabis plants themselves.
The premiere Humo en la Montaña event took place at a stunning hilltop artist’s mansion overlooking the town of San Cristobal de Las Casas, a Pueblo Magico about 100 miles north of the Mexico-Guatemala.
The event featured a live DJ spinning chilled-out electronic music for the crowd of cannabis enthusiasts as they continually rolled joints, networked and ate botanas (snacks) like tostilocos and esquites.
A Rich History
Cannabis has a long and rich history in this part of the world, and is typically not accorded the same level of stigma that continues to surround the plant in some communities north of the Mexico-U.S. border. The cannabis plant is known and revered by the indigenous communities here. It is often used for purposes that have nothing to do with “getting high.” For example, earlier this year I was gifted a tincture infused with cannabis buds, and was instructed to use it topically on areas of my body that may be feeling sore.
The cannabis industry in Chiapas is extremely new and undeveloped, but the cannabis culture here is on par with anywhere in the world in my opinion. Perhaps it’s the spirit of independence and community that saturates this state thanks to the efforts of the Zapatista indigenous autonomy movement––or the fact that the young entrepreneurs captaining this ship are all more interested in community value than individual profit. Whatever the ingredients, the emerging legal cannabis industry in Chiapas is a joy to witness and a proof-of-concept for a truly people-centered regulated cannabis environment in the 21st century.
As a lifelong resident of the San Diego-Mexico border community, it was an honor to have attended the first Cannabis Cup in Chiapas, Mexico, and to spread the good news that there is something extraordinarily special taking shape here.
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