Jamaica, pillar of the "ganja" in full shortage?

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

When we talk about Jamaica, we are obviously thinking of Bob Marley, reggae and especially grass, marijuana or more traditionally called “ganja” there.

The country, which appears to be very attractive to cannabis lovers, nevertheless considered the substance illegal for a very long time, surprising for one of the precursors of the sector. It is still very much the case, and the laws remain quite restrictive.

However, in recent times the market has experienced many difficulties. Harsh weather conditions have jeopardized the production and sale of cannabis. Last year, heavy rains and the hurricane season appeared, devastating almost all the plantations. As a result, for lack of luck, a period of extreme dryness appeared, thus burning the rest of the plantations. As a result, tens of thousands of dollars went up in smoke, according to a producer estimate.

Also read : Netherlands, a slowdown in the cannabis world? (weed-info.fr)

Production also had to deal with Covid and especially its restrictions. As the activity was illegal, the producers used to practice and take care of their plantations exclusively at night. Unfortunately for them, the curfew was put in place at 6pm, making access to the fields much more complicated and risky. On the other hand, consumers were forced to stay more at home, and were therefore faced with a constantly decreasing supply which could no longer meet the needs of the consumer population.

The previous year, cannabis was finally decriminalized, causing a spike in consumption. Faced with the bottlenecks facing production, the government agency for the legal cultivation of cannabis (only medical) argued that “the regulated Jamaican industry is not affected by this shortage.” Indeed, this is the result of the high unpopularity experienced by the grass houses called «herb houses» among the local population, considered to be too expensive. Grass can be found 5 to 10 times cheaper on the street, for a similar or even better quality. The substance is therefore out of reach for many in a legal framework.

Thus, the new Jamaican laws on cannabis and containment during a pandemic led to an increase in the consumption of the plant which could not be aligned with the proposed supply.