Even though weed and Jamaica have been inextricably linked for generations, it is only in the last couple of years that the local laws regarding its use have been relaxed. While Rastafarians were permitted to use marijuana as part of their religious ceremonies, other citizens were still prohibited from using the drug by law, and in the past, the police would come down hard on any locals who were caught in possession of cannabis, or any weed head tourists who were under the mistaken impression that its use would be acceptable on the island.
However, in 2015 the laws were changed. Now, Jamaican citizens are all allowed to cultivate up to five plants in their own home for their own personal use, and while possessing and selling weed remains illegal, as long as the total amount is under 2oz the only punishment is a nominal fine – it is now considered to be only a petty offense and will not appear on the offender’s permanent criminal record.
Not only that, but weed has also been legalized for medicinal use, and therefore any tourist who visits the country with a valid marijuana license from their home country can simply pay a fee to obtain the necessary permit and then purchase up to 2oz of medical cannabis for use while on vacation.
It is important to remember, however, that any weed purchased while in Jamaica must never be taken out of the country, since this is seen as drug trafficking and is subject to severe legal penalties.
How Easy Is It To Buy Weed In Jamaica?
Despite even small amounts of cannabis being punishable by hefty fines and imprisonment until 2015, it has always been relatively easy to get your hands on weed from the moment of arrival on the island. Locals would be hanging around outside the airport either directly selling the herb or helping to hook tourists up with a supplier while they were on vacation. Most tourists would be offered weed in their holiday resorts and on beaches too, even before the new relaxation of legislation, and most locals would be able to point you in the right direction to score a hit if they were asked.
These days, however, it is easier than ever to get hold of some ganja. By paying just a few dollars for a medical permit at the airport, tourists can visit a special dispensary on the island or buy direct from one of the island’s weed cultivators. If you aren’t sure where to find one, any taxi driver or hotel worker should be able to help you get hold of some ganja so you can black up.
The Bud And Breakfast Experience
Cannabis tourism is a major market these days, and has led to the rise of the Bud and Breakfast – marijuana friendly accommodation where weed using holidaymakers can relax and enjoy themselves in a welcoming environment. Jamaica has many popular Bud and Breakfast accommodations all over the island, all of which offer a host of amenities suited to the marijuana consuming guest. Many allow dingki dough to be smoked or vaped indoors as well as outdoors, and some even supply weed on the premises to make it even easier to obtain.
Weed Farm Tours
One further way for holidaymakers to get hold of weed when on vacation in Jamaica is to go on one (or many!) weed farm tours. These are arranged by a number of tour companies and are available in several areas including Orange Hill, which is well known for its skunk, and the famous Nine Mile – best known as the birthplace of the Jamaican music legend Bob Marley. Not only do these tours give visitors the chance to learn more about the growing process, they also give them the chance to indulge in some samples of the locally cultivated weed and the opportunity to take some away with you, with Bob Marley’s birthplace museum being one of the best places to buy your supplies.
Sampling Ganja Cakes
If you’re keen to sample some the best local weed when you’re in Jamaica but are looking for an alternative to vaping or smoking it, edibles are your way forward. The Negril area is especially well known for its delicacies including ganja cakes, ganja tea and mushroom tea, all of which can put a smile on the high-seeking tourists’ faces. Space cakes (sometimes called happy cakes or special cakes) are popular with holidaymakers and come in a range of varieties including cookies, brownies and velvet cakes.
Are Airport Kiosks A Thing?
Since cannabis was decriminalized in Jamaica, there has been ongoing debate about whether or not kiosks would be installed in ports and airports to allow tourists even easier access to weed as soon as they arrived on the island. The idea would be that holidaymakers would immediately register themselves for a medical marijuana permit as soon as their airplane landed and they would then be able to get hold of their drugs ready to head off to their holiday resort.
One of the greatest benefits to the kiosk system would be that tourists who do not have a medical prescription for cannabis from their doctor in their home country would be able to “self-declare” once they arrived in Jamaica. This would enable them to swear that they would only be using marijuana or medicinal (or therapeutic) purposes without needing to physically show any official documentation in order to get their hands on up to 2 ounces of the drug. As these kiosks would be staffed by medically trained professionals, travelers could rest assured that the weed they would be buying would be high quality and that they would not be being ripped off – something which could potentially happen if they were buying from a less reputable source during their vacation.
Unfortunately, as yet, despite much publicity being raised about the instalment of these ATMs or booths at tourist arrival points, so far they have not come to fruition, and visitors will still, for the present time, need to purchase their collie from another channel.
Learning The Jamaican Language
When traveling in Jamaica, you won’t be able to avoid hearing a number of different words being used to describe weed. While you will almost certainly know the term “ganja” – a Jamaican term which is now used pretty much everywhere, there are numerous other Jamaican expressions which are used exclusively in the island’s culture to refer either to weed itself or to the process of using it. Knowing these terms and being able to recognise and use them will make finding and using marijuana on the island a lot easier!
The Jamaican form of English is known as patois (or patwah), or more officially as Jamaican Creole. Based primarily on English, Patois uses grammar rather differently and mixes it with a number of native words and various African languages to create a tongue which is surprisingly difficult for the untrained ear to understand. The main thing about Jamaican patois is that it isn’t standardized, and this means there can be a lot of variation in terms of the way sentences are phrased. Of course, the local people will understand everything you say if you speak in English, but knowing some of the key terms will make life much simpler.
Some of the key Creole words which are interchangeable with ganja, include kaya, collie, corn, herb, i-shence, cooly and sensie (or sensemilla). The term to “black up” means to smoke weed, while “red” means to be high and a “challis” or “cutchie” is a pipe for smoking herb.
While you’re learning some useful Jamaican language expressions, you’ll probably want to know some of the other handy phrases that you could use:
• A mi fi tell yu – That’s right
• A who you man? – What are you up to?
• Dat shot – That’s great
• Deh pon a endz – Gone out
• Inna di morrows – See you tomorrow
• Memba mi tell yu – Listen to me
• Yu done know – You understand
• Wah gwaan? – What’s up?
• Mi nuh bizznizz – I don’t care
Of course, no guide to Jamaican language would be complete without some of the more colorful local expressions that could be used to insult others. If anyone calls you any of the following, you should be offended!
• Lagga head – stupid person
• Fatty boom boom – obese
• Blabba mout – mouthy/gossipy
• Bumboclaat – literally translated as toilet roll! (or full of sh*t)
Of course there are many more, and some which are far too rude to mention here!