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A Mexican Spanish slang term for cannabis. Mota translates to “mote” or “speck,” denoting a small, personal amount of cannabis. 

“Let’s roll up this mota.”

“Call your mota man, I need to re-up.”

History of mota

The story of mota began with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors to what is now the Americas, hundreds of years ago. Cannabis and hashish had thrived in Spain as a recreational activity ever since the Moors brought it to the Iberian peninsula from North Africa. Many indigenous communities in the Americas had a history of using psychoactive plants for medicinal and spiritual purposes, and for the most part embraced cannabis.

By the time of the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century, mota was incredibly popular in Mexico, and as more and more people tricked into the United States looking for work, cannabis made its way into the US. This association between Mexican laborers and mota as the Great Depression tanked the economy led to cannabis prohibition laws, demonizing both the plant and Mexican immigrants. 

Mexico followed the US’ lead and banned cannabis cultivation, possession, and transportation, making it lucrative for drug cartels. US President Nixon launched the war on drugs in the 1970s, the effects of which are still felt today.