Slow Down With
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO
Meet Mennlay Aggrey, a Cannabis Interdisciplinary, cofounder of @xulaherbs, cohost of Broccoli Talk, and founder of @cenas_sin_fronteras. She shares her perspective on slowing down through meditation and the art of rituals. Hear her thoughts on life, mindful living, and personal style.
Tell us about your career journey thus far:
I first became involved with cannabis as a legal professional career path 16 years ago in 2005, fresh out of journalism school. After working at a PRI radio station for a year, I grew medical marijuana in Humboldt County, California, America’s pot-promised land. I was one within a small group of women of color cultivating cannabis; naturally, that had its challenges. After about six years of cultivating full-time, I had to quickly pivot after an old white neighbor of mine (whose yard I would help to clean up and have friendly chats with regularly) threatened to call the cops on me for what he suspected was illegal activity.
That forced me to pivot into a career of blogging, painting rich people’s houses, and becoming a building manager in San Francisco. But the evolving industry eventually pulled me back with opportunities to consult and write for cannabis companies like Whoopi Goldberg’s line of cannabis products. As a result, I developed a specialized skill set specific to helping emerging companies in the cannabis space by creating a competitive, smart and educational digital presence.
After almost two decades, I have found myself uniquely positioned to offer various advice and know-how in the fast-expanding field, which many are rushing to join. It’s been gratifying to have the opportunity to do this work both in the US and Mexico.
What about your profession lights you up?
My journey is pretty tiresome at the moment. There's a lot on my plate with my baby brand Xula that, launched last year. There is a lot expected of me and a lot that I hold myself accountable to as a business owner and person in the industry. That looks like paying collaborators, creatives, and vendors fairly and treating our clients with respect and care. It also means constantly remembering the hundreds of thousands of Black and brown bodies currently behind bars, many of whom have paved the way for the industry by and large.
Daily, I have a swelling amount of gratitude that lights me up. But, momentarily, it also helps to remind me of the grief and hardships that so many have to overcome on their personal journeys.
Xula is my hemp and herbal company that I co-founded and creative direct with Karina Primelles. We launched just over a year ago. We are a Latina and Black-owned hemp brand based in Mexico City, grown organically in the USA. Our herbal formulas focus on anxiety, menstrual cramps, sleep, menopause, and hormonal toning. We center our work on helping women and femmes feel good in their bodies through the transformative power of hemp and herbs.
Broccoli is an international magazine for cannabis lovers and where I co-host the monthly podcast Broccoli Talk and sit on the board of the Floret Coalition. It’s an anti-racist collective of 130+ small businesses in the cannabis and cannabis-adjacent space that fund equity-oriented actions via monthly donations of 10K a month to nonprofit organizations that prioritize Black, Latin, and Indigenous communities.
Cenas Sin Fronteras is a project I started as a response to the families being separated and locked up at the Mexican/Us borders. The pandemic hit just shy of my first successful fundraiser dinner event. I’m on a hiatus until I regroup and find time to do more charitable work while maintaining business with staying hydrated, moisturized, and meditating.
Where do you find inspiration? What fuels you?
My meditation practice helps me cultivate the space and humility to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N from the constant drive to get things done. I find less fuel is better for me, straying from the idea of productivity and the need to do everything (most times for comedic amounts of compensation). Instead, I dig into this idea of the power of slowness rather than the act of constant motion.
What interests are a large part of your identity?
Honestly, smoking weed learning about herbs, plants, and foodways are my main hobbies when I can carve out the time.
Where can we find you on the weekend?
You can find me in my apartment, with a joint, playing music, meditating, cleaning, and caring for my plant children.
How do you slow down after a long day?
Cannabis (whether that be in the form of CBD, CBG, CBC, or THC) and rest will always be one of our best allies in slowing down, in addition to meditation.
What slow moments do you savor the most?
Every single one of them because they are far and few in between.
What moments bring you the most joy?
The moments when there is peace and quiet, and I’m not expected to do anything, bring me joy.
What does mindful living look like to you?
Mindful living for me personally is the state of being away from myself and how I move around in the world. How I affect people and how It affects my nervous system. It’s about understanding your impact and how you can help cultivate ease and understanding for yourself and others.
What steps do you take to show up authentically?
Just by genuinely being alive and present, that’s it.
Do you have any rituals that help keep your mind clear?
My ritual is quiet meditation, yoga, and caring for my body by nourishing it. Although these things are simple and not “rituals” in a traditional sense, these things help balance me.
What does consuming thoughtfully mean to you?
Since childhood, I’ve always had an affinity for vintage shopping, hand-me-downs (I grew up in a house of four daughters), and wearing what was available to me. I was raised in an immigrant West African home by a single mother; we didn’t have a lot growing up. The mentality of consuming for the sake of consumption was learned from the outside culture of the US. It wasn’t something that came naturally.
This is to say, “sustainability” was not a buzzword but a tangible way of living. I try to stay away from fast fashion and the brands that claim to be sustainable. The best way to shop sustainably is to wear what you already have in your closet. That’s what it means to me.
How did you learn to dress for yourself?
That’s an interesting question. When I was younger, I loved clothes. I loved the clothes my mother bought me or dressed me in. I didn’t truly learn to dress for myself until I chose and bought my own clothes that reflected my personal style.
What are you wearing when you feel the most like yourself?
Some sort of black turtleneck. Layers and leather. These tend to be the aesthetics of what makes me feel comfortable and understated. While I love where futurism takes us in the fashion world, both in social practices and the styles themselves, I’m more at home when I’m wearing something classic.
What do you love about the ZX style you chose, and how has it filled gaps in your wardrobe?
I chose the Trini Loafer for its classic yet modern chunky patent leather profile. I lean towards boots in the winter months (even in Mexico City), when it’s usually not cold enough for boots. I’ve been searing for shoes with a secure sole (like a boot) that allows for a youthful professional throwback. I have been obsessed with wearing these with tall socks, skirts, button-down whites, sweatpants, and jeans alike. They’re the type of shoes that go well with anything, and I’m looking forward to wearing them for many seasons to come.