Jamaica’s First Legal Marijuana Store Now Open

On Saturday, Kaya Farms, Jamaica’s first legal marijuana store, officially opened its doors.

The tourist-friendly store opened for tours Saturday in Jamaica’s Saint Ann Parish, located on the island’s north coast. The facility includes a café, lounge, juice bar, and herbhouse which offers a large range of marijuana and marijuana concentrates. Although marijuana is only legal in Jamaica for medical or religious purposes, the outlet accepts medical marijuana recommendations from other countries, meaning if you’re a medical marijuana patient in, say, California, you can legally visit and purchase marijuana from Kaya Farms.

“What we’re trying to do is create an ecosystem,” Kaya Farms Chairman Balram Vaswani told Leafly in a recent interview. Vaswani says that visitors can see how plants are grown, pick out products, and enjoy them in a social setting that Vaswani likens to “old coffeehouses in Vienna”. “ Vaswani says that after that;“they can have a drink from the juice bar or they can have a massage with CBD creams.”

Vaswani says that Kaya Farms opening is five years in the making: “In terms of lobbying, doing the conferences, working with it, it’s been from 2013,” he says. The company was granted a cannabis research license in 2015, a cultivation permit in late 2017, and a dispensary license this past January.

“Jamaica is one of the meccas of ganja, or herb, or cannabis,” says Vaswani. However, in recent decades the drug war has caused many classic strains to fade into the background. “We had a much bigger variety of sativas in the early ’80s.. Because of the cross-pollination, everything just ended up being some kind of skunk.”

Vaswani says that Kaya Farms is working to fix this. Starting Saturday, the shop is offering award-winning strains such as Goldenback Gorilla, Jamaican Skunk, Mangonani, and Sting-a-Ling on store shelves.

According to Vaswani, the price of their marijuana is about 50% less than typical US prices. “Typically a gram in the US is $10.. Our gram would be $5.” Concentrates run about $15 for a half-gram.

About Emily Watkins 158 Articles
Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for multiple websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, and can be reached at Watkins.MarijuanaHerald@gmail.com