Acapulco Gold is a golden-leafed Cannabis sativa strain originally from the Acapulco area of southwest Mexico. Many of the earliest strains were grown as far south as Colombia, where it was referred to as Colombian Gold, but Acapulco Gold is the commercial name that has stuck the most.
The Oxford English Dictionary quotes an early usage of the term from a 1965 newsletter, in which it was described it as "a special grade of pot growing only in the vicinity of Acapulco. The color is either brownish gold or a mixture of gold and green. This grade has a potency surpassed by few of the green varieties and usually comes at slightly higher prices or in short weights." According to one linguistics book, "The gold in this phrase originally described the golden hue of the leaves on the cannabis plant, but later came to refer both to the high quality of the cannabis and to the especially high price it commanded." Acapulco by itself can be used as a synonym for cannabis, generally referring to a high-grade type like Acapulco gold. The similarly named Acapulco red, refers to a reddish-brown cannabis grown near Acapulco, Mexico with reddish tops on the plants.
In the 1965 book Principia Discordia, a footnote concerning the ”Golden Apple of Discord” notes a ”historic disagreement concerning whether this apple was of metallic gold or acapulco.”
The 1967 song “Acapulco Gold” by The Rainy Daze “had just begun its climb on the pop charts when programme directors figured out what it was about and pulled it off play lists.”
In a 1968 film recording, John Lennon and Peter Sellers are seen talking about Acapulco Gold during a promo shoot for the Beatles new company, Apple Corps.
The circa 1969 New Riders of the Purple Sage song "Henry" from their eponymous first album references Acapulco Gold - the song is about the title character traveling to Acapulco to smuggle "twenty keys of Gold" back to the States .
In the 1969 near-future science fiction novel "Bug Jack Barron" by Norman Spinrad, Jack Barron's U.S. national television show is prominently sponsored by "Acapulco Golds", a legal cannabis cigarette brand in the setting of the book.
The 1972 novel "Acapulco Gold" by Edwin Corley imagines how American big business might prepare for legalization and commercialization of cannabis cigarettes.
Although the 1973 Led Zeppelin song "Over The Hills And Far Away" does not mention Acapulco Gold in the studio version, singer Robert Plant frequently inserted the phrase into the song during live performances. After the lyric "I live for my dreams and a pocketful of gold" he would muse the phrase "Acapulco Gold" as if an afterthought or clarification. This can be heard in the live recordings from The Song Remains the Same and How the West Was Won. A soundboard bootleg of a 1973 live show entitled "Heritage Strain" features as artwork a pack of Acapulco Gold cannabis joints.
In the 1975 Season 1, Episode 14 of "Saturday Night Live", host Desi Arnaz jokes about ”how much he likes the special cigars the cast gave him as a present: ‘I had never heard of the brand before: Acapulco Gold!’ (‘And as soon as I pass it around, we’ll be right back.’)”
The 1976 Rush “marijuana song” "A Passage to Bangkok" mentions “golden Acapulco nights”.
In 2003, Gibson made a limited edition acoustic guitar named "Acapulco Gold". The certificate that comes with the guitar says it "was created to help you celebrate those special fun times in your life that you really can't remember". The guitar has an L-size body made of Koa wood.
Led Zeppelin contemporary Roy Harper included a song titled "Acapulco Gold" on his 1974 Harvest release, Valentine. The song is sung in a Lounge music style, accompanied by piano and lyrics referring to "...getting rolled on my Acapulco Gold".
The Devin The Dude's song "Gotta Be Me" mentions "No stems, no seeds, that you don't need - Acapulco Gold is.. Mad Ass Weed".
Argentinean band Soda Stereo include the phrase “como oro de Acapulco” (like Acapulco Gold) on the song Planta from the 1995 album Sueño Stereo, the writer Gustavo Cerati makes reference to the drug being inside his body like blood to a plant.
In his song "My Favourite Ladies", rapper MF Doom refers to the strain: "Fresh and ripe, perplexin' like Acapulco Gold, If I had to guess, just right, not a day old".
Cheech and Chong mention Acapulco Gold in their 1978 film "Up in Smoke". It is mentioned in the film several times. Seeds of Acapulco gold are even shown at one point. It is also mentioned in their new cartoon "Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie", in a section where a film crew is making a commercial for Acapulco Gold. It contains a jingle with the text: "No stems no seed that you dont need, Acapulco gold is - bad ass weed"
Streetwear clothing company Acapulco Gold is named after the strain.
In Roberto Bolaño's famous novel Los Detectives Salvajes (The Savage Detectives), the characters Arturo Belano and Ulises Lima sell Acapulco Gold in the 70's Mexico City.