Cannabis in Jamaica
Ganja, Collie, Kiki, Sinsemilla. cannabis has plenty of different names, especially in Jamaica, a small Caribbean island known around the world for its long relationship with this plant.
Indeed, Jamaica is a true place of reference with regard to cannabis cultivation for smokers worldwide. Its tropical climate and fertile soil are ideal for the cultivation of cannabis plants, especially Sativas. Moreover, it is also the place where the Rastafari movement was born, which promotes a religious use of ganja and has a large number of followers in the island. Still, the use of cannabis is widely spread among all social classes – not only Rastafarians – and is doubtless one of the most popular crops in the island. In this article we’ll tell you more about the relation of cannabis with this small Caribbean paradise.
7-mile Beach, Jamaica
Introduction of cannabis in Jamaica
Being British colony until 1962, Jamaica is a traditional producer of sugar, also cotton during the slavery period. The indigenous people from the island – the Arawak tribe – were exterminated before the arrival of the British by the Spanish colonizers, while the Commonwealth government forced thousands of slaves to move from Western Africa to Jamaica to work on plantations.
After the abolition of slavery in 1838, and while many slaves abandoned their work in Jamaica, the Brisitsh Empire used manpower from other colonies to substitute them, as is the case of India. Around 33.000 workers from India left their country during the XIX century to work in Jamaica. This migration is likely to be the cause of the introduction of cannabis seeds into the island, between 1850 and 1860.
Thus, the different techniques to grow cannabis and process it were taught to local Jamaican farmers by these migrant workers from Asia, who also gave them the first seeds to grow. The influence from India can also be seen in terms like “ganja”, which comes from the word ?g?ñj?? (which means cannabis or cannabis resin) and that is widely used by the Jamaican community.
Strain Hunters in Jamaica
Prohibition of cannabis in Jamaica dates back from 1913 with the Dangerous Drug Act – also known as The Ganja Law – which prohibited possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis (under penalty of imprisonment). Still, things have changed considerably during the past years, and actually both the medical and spiritual uses are legal since 2015.
Jamaican cannabis genetics
Cannabis prohibition, globalisation, Internet and many other factors play a role in the fact that landrace strains from Jamaica have been gradually replaced by modern feminised seeds, mostly hybrids. Actually, some of the traditional Jamaican strains that can be found today, as the legendary Lambs Bread, have Skunk genes in them since the 80’s.
To find true, pure Jamaican genetics can be a very tough goal, as we could see during our trip in 2016 for the Steppin High Festival. Sadly, most weed available today in the island is miles away from the famous Jamaican weed praised by Reggae artists in the 70’s. In contrast, we were regularly offered some of the, supposedly, most renowned hybrids of the cannabis seed market: White Widow, Amnesia. even Girl Scout Cookies!
Jamaican Sativas are still being grown by some farmers
However, and if you know the right people, you can still find some traditional cannabis crops in the island, especially in the Blue Mountains area and the parish of Santa Ana, where locals go to get the best weed in the island!
The Orange Hill area also gathers many ganja farmers, although modern European or American hybrids are mainly grown there, obviously looking for better profit. You can actually book a guided tour through the plantations with other tourists!
Popularity of cannabis in Jamaica
While the traditional use of cannabis in Jamaica dates back from more than 150 years, it was not until the decade of 1970 when both the Rastafarian movement from the island and Reggae music – and thus, weed – skyrocketed in popularity. The international success of some Jamaican reggae artists also democratized in some way the use of cannabis around the world and out of the Rasta community. People like Bob Marley or Peter Tosh claimed their love for the plant in many of their songs, as well as the medicinal properties of cannabis. As we mentioned, ganja is widely used across the territory by people from all types of social context.
After the legalisation of cannabis in other countries like Uruguay or some of the states of the USA, and after years of debate with the pro cannabis local associations, the Jamaican government finally decided to allow possession of smal amounts (around 50g) for medical or religious use in 2015. The new law also allows the government to issue licenses to develop the medical cannabis industry in the island, also scientific research. Last but not least, every person is allowed to grow up to 5 plants at home.
Weed, Jamaica. and Alchimia!
Soon after the law was endorsed, a number of cannabis-related festivals and events were announced. Mainly held at the Negril region, which offers a unique space for tourists and locals to enjoy the beautiful beaches and white sands, they’re events as prestigious as Rootzfest, Steppin High Festival, Dab-a-Doo or the legendary High Times Cannabis Cup.
Cannabis clubs have also flourished across the country, which – as proven in Barcelona – highly improve the growing and processing techniques and thus the final product, also for resin extracts. Other independent associations, like Scarce Commodity, are focused on quality control of the cultivation, processing and distribution practices, which in turn increases the quality of the weed produced in the territory.
Jamaica was, is and – we hope – will be a true paradise for any lover of the cannabis plant.
Finally, Jamaica seems to offer cannabis a bright and sunny future!
Articles and publications used for the writing of this article:
If we talk about traditional cannabis producing countries, Jamaica comes to mind almost immediately. In this article we tell you more about the close
Jamaica Weed Vs Colorado Weed
Posted on July 2, 2014
Jamaican Weed From Colorado Perspective
I just got back from a vacation and wedding (Congratulations Sam & Kristy!) and found it very interesting traveling from Colorado to Jamaica. In Colorado, it’s legal. Before the legal there was medical (I’m medical by the way, car wrecks are a *****). I’ve always been used to a very relaxed weed environment.
Although it’s fairly relaxed about their marijuana laws, it’s still illegal. The idea of weed being illegal itself is trippy after getting so used to our new laws. Sure we’e got many moratoriums in place, a governor (and brewer) opposed to weed, can’t buy it (outside of Denver, Telluride, ect), sell it or smoke it in public, but it’s still “legal”. Jamaica doesn’t even have the dispensaries or medical community.
However, it seems that recently there have been talks within the Jamaican government to decriminalize and legalize for religious, medical and research purposes.
Jamaican Bud Vs Colorado Bud
The bulk (if not all) Jamaican weed is grown outside. It’s got to be a great environment for it as well. I don’t know how much light they lose in the winter, so not sure how it affects flowering. I guess the plants are just conditioned to react to whatever light changes do occur.
A bulk of Colorado’s bud is grown outdoors as well. Aside from the outdoor crops, there are plenty of indoor operations (personal, medical, ect) as well. There are some big differences between the Colorado and Jamaican outdoor.
The Jamaican bud was much more moist than Colorado weed, even though nugs were fully cured. This is due to the humidity. It was interesting breaking up, rolling and smoking Jamaican bud. Took a little more effort and the bud smoked longer (not complaining).
Comparing what we were all smoking (big wedding, 80 people so different people were getting it from different sources) I personally prefer Colorado weed. I’m sure there’s some great, killer nugs in Jamaica, but everything we encountered was average outdoor.
Jamaican Prices vs Colorado Prices
While I was writing this, I decided to see what Google had to say about it. There’s people claiming $20 a half pound of good stuff, than people paying $100 an ounce. I would love to see that $20 per 1/2 pricing. Definitely not resort prices and sure you’ve got to know someone or meet the right people in order to see that.
Don’t expect those rates on the resort. We didn’t weigh anything and everyone was basically handed a sack full of colas. If it’s not a sack full of colas (which is why it’s nice to see it instead of handing off cash) it’ll probably be some lesser grade stuff wrapped tight in little bags probably containing anywhere between 2.5-3.5. It’s better than Mexi but very comparable.
One of my relatives got the best deal from a cab driver. It would be over an ounce in our dry climate, which means definitely weighing over an ounce with the added humidity. He paid $100. This was all in Negril, by the way.
After reading the reviews I feel I should have tried bartering a little more. Oh well. It wasn’t too big of a deal for me and seemed ironic trying to buy it when I’ve got homegrown curing back home.
Comparing the rate my relative got from the cab driver to what I get here it’s pretty comparable. I feel the majority of the bud I get for that rate is either on-par or superior, with a few strains lagging right behind it.
The majority of the places where people were talking about these $20 half p’s were on various weed forums. Most of the dates were back in 2005 or so. Maybe things have changed since then. Seen a 2011 article claiming $500 pounds. Maybe weed prices are gradually going up for whatever reasons. Maybe these killer deals are directly from the farmers.
Don’t expect to see those kind of rates on a resort.
We can’t compare the legal retail prices of Colorado (ripoff by the way. that’s what happens when pot gets sin taxed) to that of Jamaica, as there is no legal retail (medical or otherwise) in that country. Most dispensaries nation-wide have some very inflated prices, in my opinion. It’s understandable, as there’s licensing, building lease, wages and ridiculous taxes that are local weed merchants have to deal with. If there was legalized retail marijuana in Jamaica, the store owners would be faced with the same overhead.
Jamaican Hash Vs Colorado Hash
Most of the Jamaican hash was finger hash. I found it very interesting. I’m not a huge hash fan (I smoke blunts) but here in Colorado, I’d label us “hash snobs”. It’s got to be dabable hash to fly in this state anymore. It was interesting seeing Jamaicans trying to peddle finger hash. That’s something I doubt would fly in the states at all. Especially not [the majority] Colorado hash smokers.
I’ve never understood the whole dabbing bit. Seems way too complicated and never been a fan of paraphernalia, but to each their own. Since I’ve never really dabbed, I’ve never been obsessed with wax or shatter. In fact, my hash smoking habits are right inline with the Jamaicans. I’ve got a container of finger that grows instead of shrinking. This is from helping with various harvests occurring here. I don’t smoke it fast enough so it piles up. Like I said, not the biggest hash fan.
I hope this helps anyone trying to understand the secrets to $40 pounds of excellence, but I don’t know how to contact “that guy”, nor would I even disclose hints to that over the internet if I did. It’s still illegal over there and nobody wants to compromise pot farmers.
Jamaica Weed Vs Colorado Weed Posted on July 2, 2014 Jamaican Weed From Colorado Perspective I just got back from a vacation and wedding (Congratulations Sam & Kristy!) and found it very