The Jamaican Herb Situation

If one of the reasons you are visiting Jamaica is to try out the local herbs, then you are in for a treat.

Marijuana has been decriminalized on the island for several years – this means that possession of up to 2 ounces is considered a “petty offense”, subject to a very small fine of ~$4(US).

There are exceptions including for medical marijuana patients with a prescription and for practitioners of Rastafari.

KAYA HOUSE

The law also allows for the setup of legal cultivation and dispensaries.

The very first of these dispensaries is Kaya House.

You do not need a medical marijuana card to purchase but you will need ID to verify you are 18+.

THE KAYA EXPERIENCE

Located in Ocho Rios right next to Scotchies, Kaya House is the only official dispensary in Jamaica and the only legal place to purchase.

Kaya House herbs come in an airtight glass jar

Besides the dispensary, there is also a bar, pastry shop, pizza station and a tour of the farm.

If you read articles online about what to expect, many of them mention a Dr. present that you must talk to in order to purchase products.

In our experience, this is not the case. They will ask you for ID to make sure you are 18+, but that is the only thing you need to get into the dispensary.

Anyone that wants to enter the dispensary but who is not purchasing or smoking must pay a fee for a “tour”.

Owen ‘JahJah’ Warren, chief grower at Kaya Farms shows off his company’s symbol, during the Kaya herb house opening in St Ann, recently. Gladstone Taylor / Photographer Owen ‘JahJah’ Warren chief grower at Kaya Farms during the Kaya herb house opening in St Ann on Saturday, March 10, 2018. *** Local Caption *** The Kaya brand is framed on a shirt worn by Owen ‘JahJah’ Warren, chief grower at Kaya Farms, during the March 10 opening event for Kaya’s operations in St Ann. Kaya is merging with another company called Buzz Capital and will list on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Once inside, you will find a very large store with at least 12 different kinds of buds of all varieties (Sativa, Indica, Hybrids).

There are also lots of smoking products including water pipes, papers and dabs.

The menu is vast, but you really cannot go wrong with whatever you choose.

If you are coming in on a cruise boat, the pre-rolls are a bit pricey, but easy to grab and go if you are in a hurry.

OUR FAVORITES

Our favorite was Chem D.O.G – which had a very heavy high that was great to chill in the evenings.

Our second favorite was Mangonani which was very flavorful and gave you that fun, happy vibes perfect for a day on the beach.

We also tried Kingston Lemon Skunk, Gorilla Glue #4 and Kurple – all were great! The Kurple also had a very nice flavor.

We came back for more Chem D.O.G and Mangonani.

HOW DOES IT COMPARE?

The big question you might be asking is why would I spend a lot of money to buy from Kaya House when you can find marijuana everywhere in Jamaica?

This is a very legitimate question and the best answer I can give is it comes down to the quality and the seeds…

In everything I bought from Kaya, there were no seeds and very few stems – just nice, fluffy buds in airtight glass containers.

The typical buds from off the street in Jamaica come on the stick, usually have a few seeds and will burn a bit harsher as they will also have a few leaves as well.

However, it will be a lot cheaper! and will still still get you very stoned.

IF NOT KAYA, WHERE TO BUY?

If you’re not traveling to Ocho Rios, or if Kaya House does not sound like your kind of place, then the next question is where can I get it?

In the past, this question would have been harder to answer as I would not have wanted to give away a secret, but since 2015/Decriminalization, this is no longer a big secret.

The reality is that you can ask anyone – bartender’s, bell hops, bus/taxi drivers, water sports, shop owners etc… They will simply answer “no” or they’ll happily provide whatever you want.

In 1999, I had to very discreetly arrange a transaction with a bar tender and we basically hid on the edge of the resort to make the transaction and to smoke.

But by 2016 – our bus driver simply announced over the intercom that marijuana is no longer a crime and he asked directly if anyone onboard would like to stop.

We stopped at a T-Shirt, souveneir shop and in the back was a counter with glass jars filled with various kinds.

In 2017, there were so many people smoking at Couples Negril that guests were literally giving away free pot – I never actually purchased any that year!

In 2018, Kaya house opened and there were many people at Couples Sans Souci/SSB that were participating so now it’s even possible to simply ask your fellow guests – they’ll almost always have some extra.

SMOKING LAWS

At the same time they decriminalized marijuana, Jamaica also strengthened their smoking laws.

For this reason – NO SMOKING of ANY KIND is allowed under any covered surfaces – this includes the restaurants, bars, rooms and balconies.

We comply with Jamaican law directives in regards to Jamaica’s newest smoking policy. Therefore, we do not allow smoking under any roof, which includes room balconies. We at present allow smoking around the pool and on our beach until our designated smoking areas are constructed for pool and beach areas.

Couples Web Site/FAQ

Many people still smoke on their balconies at Couples resorts but if you are excessive about it, or your neighbor complains, you could get asked to stop.

It’s best just to go find a nice spot by the water, the smoking spots or the beach to enjoy whatever you choose.

There is no need to be discreet about smoking marijuana, enjoy it openly, just pay attention to the no smoking signs.

IT’S SOooo GOOD, CAN’T I BRING SOME BACK?

NO!

Seriously, NO!

There are no exceptions – bringing marijuana into the U.S. or U.K. from another country is a federal crime! You could actually end up spending years in jail.

You should dispose of – or better yet – give away everything – including any paraphernalia, bags or containers that have come into contact.

Empty out all backpacks and luggage that might have held any marijuana to make sure nothing is left behind.

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