Nearly 30 years ago, a Jamaican government panel recommended that Jamaica decriminalize marijuana. The recommendation was stalled by US pressure, and was never implemented.
Five years ago, the government set up a commission to review the country’s ganja laws. The commission studied ganja in Jamaica and Holland, and heard testimony from hundreds of people across Jamaica. Three years ago, the commission recommended decriminalizing ganja. And yet, that recommendation has also stalled- instead of following the recommendation, the government created a parliamentary committee to study the commission’s report.
The committee last year recommended that Parliament decriminalize ganja. Parliament sought advice on how to do this, from Jamaican Solicitor General Michael Hylton.
Hylton studied international anti-narcotics treaties, and told Parliament effective decrim would be tricky, given that treaties require at least some official sanctions against all possession, use and cultivation of marijuana. Parliament responded by saying it might vote on the matter this month.
In the meantime, ganja is more available and less expensive in Jamaica than anywhere else in the world.
On a recent journalistic tour of the island facilitated by a hashwizard named Bubbleman, whose “bubblebags” are easy-to-use tools that turn any type of cannabis into high quality hashish, I was able to buy pounds of top-rank marijuana for $150 US per pound. I also was brought to various outdoor gardens, where original Jamaican Sativas and mixed Indicas grew sticky and well-scented in blazing tropical sun.
Bubbleman reported that he had processed more than a dozen pounds of quality weed during his month-long stay in Jamaica. He shared with me a variety of hashish made from Jamaican herb, noting that the strongest and best-tasting was made from weed grown by a dreadlocked mountain-man named Doktah. The hash made from Doktah’s weed was dark, with red swirls.
“This hash is as strong and tasty as any hash I’ve smoked anywhere,” Bubbleman said, firing up a bowl of “full-melt” resin that had a spicy flavor and a wicked kick.
Although Jamaica’s popularity as a safe tourist destination ebbs and flows, my recent visit was extremely pleasant. The Irie vibe of friendliness, ganja-consciousness, and inexpensive cannabis made it a pleasure to be there, and the 85 degree temperatures and warm Caribbean Sea also added to the fun.
Look for a major Jamaican article in the special 50th issue anniversary edition of Cannabis Culture, which will be printed to coincide with the Toker’s Bowl in late June and early July.
For more information on making bubblehash, visit www.bubblebag.com.