Jamaican Weed

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Jamaican Weed

Post by Weedguru Higher » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:20 pm

Jamaican Weed
By Motaco


Jamaica is well known for ganja, and for good reason. Supposedly the Jamaican weed growing culture started when escaped slaves ran so far into the mountains that they could no be pursued and lived an isolated existence; growing African and Indian sativas and living off the land.
Regardless of it's origin the popularity in Jamaica is undeniable and far older and more intrisic than most other cultures on this side of the world. In the fifties and even earlier Jamaica was one of very few suppliers of marijuana to the US. During the 60s Jamaican was one of few exotics available along with Acapulco Gold. Since it is an island and thus fairly easy to control around '73 it was used as a test for marijuana eradication and was very successful. Mass crops were targeted and hit hard, and the genes to the famous Lambs Bread or Kali weed was hit hard. Throughout much of the 70's and 80's Jamaican "semi sensi" was an extra exotic on the market, but made no substantial contribution to the total of pot America smoked. Noted more for the size of it's buds than for it's potency in the later years. However in it's heyday the Jamaican sativa was an energetic and spicy smoke. A neon green poker straight plant 3-9 feet high, with light branching towards the top. The smoke was energetic and upbeat, powerfully contemplative, with very little body stone or sedation to it. Supposedly a breed of Indian and African sativas.

Due to its year round photoperiod Jamaica has 3 harvest seasons per year. Two short and one long. It's worth mentioning that if you are going to jamaica in search of sativas. Don't go in winter as you would expect like at a higher latitude. That is actually their conclusion to the shortest season and is full of immature 50 day flowered from seed lolly pop indica buds. the nugs are 5 inches long with a gram on the end of half leaf and you can see the roots at the bottom of the stem. If you want sativas you should go around april when plants have had 4 months to cycle instead of a month and a half. This is the season they grow their larger higher yielding plants that can have a veg cycle. In winter they grow mini super fast indicas to get a quick harvest, but it sucks.



In Jamaica when you flower sativas from seed they grow one main cola, and minimal side branching. Jamaicas grow climate causes this to happen naturally. Plants flower at or almost immediately after sprouting. So its no surprise acclimated Jamaican ganja looks like this. Pictures of jamaican patches often look like a little outdoor SOG. Stony weed was referred to as Kali herb (goddess of destruction), and other terms such as "lambs bread" or "breath" (depending who you ask) were also common terms. A common myth is that Jamaican strains smell and taste earthy and smoky. This is not true at all it simply has to do with primitive curing procedures which we'll get into later. Fresh native ganja is usually very sweet, fruity and floral. It should be, because it is mainly from the same dutch stock we are all familiar with.

Today native Jamaicans are harder and harder to find. In the 80's visitors continually brought over dutch genes which were faster and stonier. Since they stay short and are harder to see from helicopters, and finish so quick these small hybrids yielding a few grams to an ounce became what makes up the mainstay of Jamaican ganja today.

The nations growers have simple breeding techniques and accidental open pollination occurs often. It is hard for growers to keep lines pure. Jamaicans were used to 90-120 day sativas that grew tall, were heat and pest resistant, and didn't need much ferts, and yielded 1-4 ounces a piece. Todays average Jam ganja grows between 2-4ft, and flowers for about 70 days, and yields about 1/2-2 ounces. They are much more prone to mold, and require more tending. Although it is not likely to change the market many growers plea for tourists to bring sativa genes back to them. African, South American, etc. Really just any good sativas, they don't care if its kali mist of good mexican bagseed. Common dutch genes they received include several repeating names, such as ice, afghani, northern lights, and purple star, and skunk are common in gardens and replaced sativas. During the one long growing season sativas are better suited but many growers have lost their old lines. The more sativa looking lines left on the island appear to be mostly Colombian in origin according to recent visitors. Today the dealers call weed whatever is selling to tourists best. Even Diesel or Trainwreck although that is not what it is. However a handful of strains are there and are sold by name. Blue mountain sativa and a handful of other natives are still kept pure by some rastas supposedly. Although sativas are missed, the growers do appreciate the short, and fast turnover and increased number of harvest the indicas offer and they will now always make up a substantial part of the harvest. At any rate pay attention to the bud, not what it is being called.


Weed is everywhere in Jamaica, but don't be a fool. It is still very illegal. Not many years ago an American college tourist was arrested with one spliff and handcuffed to a bed for days before he was processed, during which time he got sick and had to go to the hospital. But most of the time cops, and judges just like everyone else are just looking for a handout and want you to just leave your money and go home. But American influenced propaganda as well as tactics including road side stops, helicopter patrols, speed boats, and drug dogs are the norm. Despite all this its still everywhere and deep in the culture. However do not assume that everyone there smokes. They don't and many do not appreciate the stereotype, they view asking every Jamaican about weed like going to Colombia and asking everyone about cocaine. Asking the wrong person can get you set up to buy from an undercover just like the states. In Jamaica just like everywhere else smoking weed instead of drinking is considered a low class, criminal class hobby. If you go make sure you pick your hotel wisely. Many resorts and chain hotels do not like pot smokers.

Scoring weed in Jamaica should be a very easy thing to do. Many people come back from Jamaica and say they only have crappy schwag. The truth is no different than anywhere else. They saw you coming from a mile away. If they CAN sell you schwag at regular price than they most likely will. Or just rip you off entirely if you give them the chance. Weed is usually sold on the entire stem so when they are talking to a tourist if they pull out a fistful of 18 inch schwag buds and the guys eyes light up like he's never seen that much weed before in his life than the dealer has got his number already. He's not going to even show him the normal stuff he sells for 30 dollars an ounce if he knows he can sell this year old shit nobody else wants at the same price to this guy.

Another dealer trick is to hand you the weed. Especially if you are in their field. We are used to being able to inspect and smell the herb before you get it. This is not necessarily the case in Jamaica. If its in your possession its yours. They may refuse to take it back and demand the money instead. It is often hard to understand Jamaicans and the tiny island has upwards of 700 murders per year. The last thing you want to do is get into an argument over a few dollars and hear "thieves answer to jah." So if the weed doesn't look like it interests you don't even sniff it. Don't give people a reason to not like you.

But if you stay diligent there is good weed to be found. There are lord only knows how many growers on the island and three harvests a year so if you don't like what you are seeing keep asking. Someone will have good enough quality. Special resorts often keep higher quality for their smoking clientele if all else fails.

For safety its a good idea not to go far from the hotel, don't go to the back of any businesses to get weed, make dealers bring it to you somewhere you feel safe. Don't ask just anyone and everyone for it be specific to someone you know is not a cop and probably is educated about good weed. And taxi drivers have been known to take money from police for dropping off dumb tourists into traps so beware. Don't smoke in public, find a safe spot. Don't buy pre-rolled joints they are probably just shake leaves. Don't give people money to come back. Basically don't do anything you wouldn't do in your home town is a good rule of thumb.

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Highliter in jamaica in early 80's

PRICES in JAMAICA vary all over the island but 95% of the tourists going to jamaica are going to Negril or Kingston. Roadside vendors with coconuts and fruit as well as small businesses often sell about a gram for a dollar, with a paper. Street dealers with ounces(guess-timated weight and not including stalks) usually sell them for 30-50 dollars or 200-350 USD for a whole lb. While it is true that herb actually sells for as little as 80usd per pound even for quality weed it is not right to pay that for it. Remember that this is not "the time machine" and Jamaicans are not morlocks there to serve you. They are a slave to a crippled economy and work their asses off to be able to feed their family. They risk their freedom selling weed and you should really think about which one of you truly knows the value of a hard days work before you haggle down an honest man to piles of weed for chump change. I don't know who said it but I'll never forget the words: "The extreme uncertainties of subsisting without working made excesses necessary and brakes definitive. Suicide took many, alcohol and the devil took care of the rest." What this means is if you have the money to go blunting, beer bonging, and tom catting around Jamaican resorts than you've got the kind of money to give some of the most hardworking people you'll ever meet a fair price for his product. It boils my blood when I hear people say they haggled down some dealer to next to nothing like screwing poor people out of money is something you should be impressed with.

But do know that market style bartering is somewhat a part of Jamaican culture. So when you give him what you feel in your heart to be a fair price for what you bought and how much money you have make sure he knows you did not give him that much money because you are a stupid tourist, but instead as a tip.


Jamaica has the same kinda helicopter patrols and snitches like the states. For growers to combat this they have done the same thing they do in NorCal. Very few big patches. It's an army of dedicated small growers spread out everywhere and they can't be stopped. When its all put together it makes their country full of weed.

Jamaican growers have resorted to lugging thousands of lbs of soil through jungles and swamps, building raised soil beds in marshes, or planting on steep rocky cliffs with dams under the plants to catch water. Rarely are patches larger than 2 acres, with most of them being about a half an acre. An area is chosen and usually burned of vegetation and stumps, this is in part a problem of the islands deforestation. only 30% of the island is forested now and that is in part due to slash and burn techniques.

The rocky shallow soil is pick axed into holes and amended with quality soil and ferts. Then they build something to collect and store rainwater. Not an easy task and once its done they usually stay at the same spot for many years. Jamaicans are big on organic ferts and frequently use bat guano, blood, various different types of shit and anything else you can imagine.

Jamaican admiring his work on a steep hill

Unfortunately despite being adept at grow techniques drying and curing is still a very primitive process for most jamaican growers. Probably less than 1/4 of the growers know how to properly dry and store weed for their climate conditions. This is what attributes to a lot of the negative stereotypes about Jamaican weed. Many of the growers simply machete chop the stem at the base above the soil line and just hang upside down. With no leaves removed, full stem and stalk, and the plants hanging closely next to one another in the high humidity it takes FOREVER for plants to dry like this and much is lost to mold. Some noticed they dried faster and without mold if they hung them in open sun, which deteriorates trichomes quickly and turns buds brown, others started drying in sheet metal shacks in the sun which are like an oven. Then they simply store it in bags. Another common technique is to hang buds close to an open fire which is a quick way of drying and attributes to many of the "smoky" sterotypes of Jamaican herb smells.

But there are wise growers in the woods that learned and have great kind bud and know how to properly dry and store it in the humid climate. To do so they trim buds into small branches, split the stems for drying, and remove all large leaves. Left in open breezy shady areas the weed dries just fine. After being trimmed to their liking they store by burying in water proof containers like buckets or ice chests. Weed will stay perfect like this well past the next harvest. Many growers live year round with their plants and tend them everyday, but it doesn't stop the quick deterioration rates of weed in heat, and the ignorance that comes with failed infrastructure, and lack of electricity for anything including AC. So it is no surprise there are alot of dealers looking to sell the cheap over abundant schwag to someone dumb enough to take it. So make sure you choose wisely. Dank is certainly available to be had when a proper grower produced it.


Unlike the situation in Mexico the Jamaican weed is usually not brought in by cartels. Or if it is they operate under enough privacy that they don't make waves. Jamaican weed import is a tiny fraction of what it once was. the distance and no border makes it alot harder to get shipments in. Entrepreneurs in speed boats, as well as smugglers lining the bottoms of boxes in fishing boats, and shipping containers, usually are freelancing it. Buying it with their own money and smuggling it at their own risk to private markets. They usually choose the weed they want from several growers, whittle it off the giant stems they sell it on, brick it and ship it. I understand that now in the dragging on of the Iraq war and the low troop levels many resources have been allocated to other places. The US government knows there is no real terrorist threat so they took many of the people and agencies who were riding around primarily for show in the gulf and put them in the OTHER gulf. With less people doing drug interdiction activities I hear brave souls in speed boats have regained some popularity. But it simply can't come through in the amounts without the organization and dedication of a large cartel.
The entire Caribbean shares most of the same strains and the best spot for collecting Caribbean bagseed in the US would have to be south florida hands down.

Wallyduck's photo of jamaican ganja they bought for hashmaking.

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Jamacain photos


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Re: Jamaican Weed

Post by bumblebee » Mon May 31, 2010 9:18 pm

very cool

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Re: Jamaican Weed

Post by gillianreynolds » Fri Apr 29, 2011 11:45 am

I read an article about jamaican growers. It was a high times interview and they talked to some younger jamaican growers in their 20's, they were growing blueberry in their field. They said that the Jamaican weed growing culture started when escaped slaves ran so far into the mountains that they could no be pursued and lived an isolated existence; growing African and Indian sativas and living off the land.

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