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Many countries, one plant: Jamaica
In the next months we will check out other Caribbean cannabis hot spots: Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados & St. Vincent.
Jamaica is a lush tropical island located in the middle of the Caribbean region, home of reggae music, white sand beaches, jerk chicken, "ackee" fruit, Blue Mountain coffee and prime buds. Ever since Bob Marley started touring the world in the 1970s and made it famous, Jamaica became one of the preferred destinations for alternative tourists seeking tropical lust and top quality marijuana. During the 1970s and 1980s Jamaica was one of the main sources of bud coming into the US and Europe, and in the 90s many foreigners began importing genetics from far corners of the world, introducing on the island flavors and highs never seen before.
Cannabis was not naturally present in Jamaica before man imported it. The first seeds arrived on the island from Africa and Asia, brought with them by slaves eradicated from their homelands to work on the plantations. The naturally favorable climate and plenty of human consumption did the rest: cannabis now thrives on the island, cultivated in jealously guarded gardens under the forest canopy in remote areas. Decades of eradication efforts from the CIA, DEA and Jamaican government have failed because cannabis is part of the local culture, used for medicinal, recreational and religious purposes, and deeply rooted into society. Rastafarian organizations are trying to have the herb legalized since the 1990s, but the American War on Drugs keeps pressure on the Jamaican government to keep cannabis illegal even for local religious ceremonies. During the 1970s the CIA used to buy Jamaican cannabis from right-wing groups, paying with weapons and military aid aimed at destabilizing the left side of the government. The operation became public knowledge during the 1980s and 1990s, creating public outcry in USA and Jamaica alike.
There are hundreds of strains growing in Jamaica, from the world renown Lambâ€™s Breath to the most famous Dutch and American strains. In the last 10 years there has been an incredible increase in the amount of knowledge available to local growers, and it is now rare to find seeded buds on the market. Most commercial growers learned to pull their males before pollination, or use feminized seeds or cuttings from mother plants. Many Americans and Europeans have brought their favorite seeds with them on their holidays and exchanged with local ones, creating a puzzle of crosses and hybrids that produces amazing variety of bud. The most organized groups are now working with mother rooms and cuttings, and there are even a few breeding projects going on on the island. The most popular strains on the beaches of the most exclusive locations are Kush crosses, Trainwreck, New York Diesel, East Coast Sour Diesel and sweet fruity hazes. Some commercial growers still export their crops to other Caribbean islands, Europe and the USA, but it is becoming more and more difficult, while local demand increases exponentially almost every year thanks to a steady tourism industry and plenty of local demand.
In the capital city, Kingston, there are more hard drugs than ganja around, and the atmosphere is not very safe for tourists, therefore most of the visitors go directly to the Negril or Montego Bay areas of the west or to the Port Antonio area in the East, where every beach is home to white sands, ital food (the local version of healthy vegetarian snacks), pristine waters and great buds sold by locals more or less openly according to the spot and the season. Cannabis tourism is nowadays a very popular form of money making in Jamaica, with several American tour operators marketing tours to ganja fields and smoke-outs on the beach at sunset as part of their trips. Some of the bars at Negril 7-miles-long beach are worldwide famous stoner's hot-spots (Rick's Cafe on top of them all.... since the late 1980s!)
Furthermore, every year High Times magazine organizes a Miss-High-Times pageant contest on Negril beach. A bunch of stoners fly in every year to vote the best buds and the sexiest girls, while sampling the first and dreaming of the second for a week. The event, already into its third edition, is becoming quite popular and is inspiring copycat events as well. The Jamaican government does not encourage this kind of promotion, but it does not stop it because tourism is too important, especially at times of crisis. The illegal status of the cannabis plant is even suspended in one instance: in the small village of Nine Miles, where local hero Bob Marley lies to rest, there is a small patch of cannabis growing near the tomb, protected by Jamaican police officers.
This confirms that even though Jamaica signed the 1961 UN treaty against drugs, the role of cannabis in the local culture and traditions is too deeply rooted to be eradicated.
The best months to visit Jamaica are the winter ones (November to February are the driest months, but pretty much all year round the weather is a blessing to grow and to lie on the beach....). In June, July and August tropical storms batter the island with regularity, but this does not discourage growers from planting, or smokers from smoking. Jamaican people have been growing and smoking plenty of ganja since they became Jamaicans, and they will not stop. Ever.
Maybe that is why I like the place so much...
Check out the Jamaica live tread
Peace, Love & THC
Franco â€“ Green House Seed Co.
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