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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

7 Jamaican Cannabis Strains to Try in Honor of Bob Marley’s Birthday

Today we honor the birthday of Robert Nesta Marley. The Reggae legend, better known as Bob, would have turned 72 today. To celebrate the man who spent so much of his life singing the songs of universal peace, love and, of course, cannabis, we give you seven strains that were influenced by him and his home island of Jamaica.

1. Jamaican

The Jamaican strain refers to the indigenous varieties of cannabis (or landraces) that grow natively in this region of the world. Because of Jamaica’s latitude and climate, these varieties tend to be sativa in structure and effect.

2. Lamb’s Bread

Also called “Lamb’s Breath,” Lamb’s Bread is a bright green and sticky sativa strain. The effects have been known to give mass amounts of energy and positive introspection. Stress subsides quickly from the Lamb’s Bread buzz, which can help ease depression. The origins of this plant comes from Jamaica and it has been reported that even Bob Marley himself has encountered this wonderful slice of cannabis genealogy.

3. Jamaican Pearl

Jamaican Pearl is a sweetly potent outdoor sativa strain from Dutch breeder Sensi Seeds whose presence will bring a taste of the Caribbean to cannabis consumers. Jamaica is home to sativas of astounding quality and potency, selectively bred for countless generations. This strain, a genetic cross between Marley’s Collie and Early Pearl, provides a nice breezy cerebral sensation with tropical flavors.

4. King’s Bread

Said to be a sativa landrace from the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, King’s Bread (or King’s Breath) delivers mellowing and euphoric cerebral effects. Finger-like bulbs reach out from the citrus-scented buds wrapped in crystal trichomes. Lamb’s Bread is counted among its progeny, although King’s Bread’s lineage is not well documented. Pain relief, appetite stimulation, and stress alleviation are just a few of the therapeutic benefits King’s Bread has to offer.

5. Jamaican Dream

Jamaican Dream is a 90% sativa bred by Eva Seeds using Jamaican genetics. A subtle and sweet flavor carries you through to an elevated mood and weightless euphoria. The effects are light enough to start your day with, making this strain ideal for early treatment of depression and fatigue. Jamaican Dream’s pointed, compact buds will finish their flowering cycle after 42 to 45 days indoors, or at the end of September in outdoor gardens.

6. Marley’s Collie

Marley’s Collie is an indica-dominant hybrid bred by Sensi Seeds that won the Dutch High Life Cup in 1999. These sticky, spiky buds offer a pungent sweet aroma with musky Afghani undertones, delivering effects that are strong in both physical and cerebral sensation. Indoor and outdoor grows can expect flowers between 60 and 65 days.

7. Jamaican Lion

Jamaican Lion is a high-CBD sativa strain with mildly psychoactive effects that stimulate creativity and focus without the loss of functionality. Its rich genetic background combines Mountain Lion — a Rockbud and Lionheart cross — with a Jamaican sativa known as Yarders. Shadrock, Jamaican Lion’s creator, first brought the strain to California in 2007, where it was distributed to patients by Harborside. Ushered in by a sweet herbal aroma, Jamaican Lion induces mild psychoactivity that carries through despite its low THC content. Sensory perception sharpens as bad moods dull in clear-headed sensations that can be described as simultaneously uplifting and calming. Few strains compare to Jamaican Lion as it eases pain, anxiety, and inflammation without intoxication or mental cloudiness. Its CBD content is highest around week 9 of flowering, but if you’re looking for more of a 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC, Shadrock recommends harvesting at week 8 instead.

Have you tried any of these Jamaican strains? If so, leave your review on the strain’s detail page. If these don’t sound like your kind of cannabis, use the Leafly Explorer to find the strain with the flavors and effects you are looking. Happy Birthday Bob! Stir it up!

To celebrate Bob Marley, a man who spent his life singing songs of universal peace, love, and cannabis, here are 7 strains that were influenced by him and his home island of Jamaica. ]]>