There's a weed drought in Jamaica

click to enlarge There's a weed drought in Jamaica

Reggae music made Jamaica an emblem for marijuana around the world when it hit back in the late 1960s. Rastafarians such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh helped cause tourists to flock to the beaches of the island and to try a lot of the local herbal crops. That reputation has lasted until today.

So it comes as a surprise that the nation of Jamaica is suffering a marijuana shortage — and it's not because tourists showed up and smoked it up.

Heavy, destructive rains during hurricane season followed by a drought and compounded by strict COVID-19 curfews that kept farmers from working late added up to a disastrous growing season. On top of that — similar to our own situation here — many small farmers have been forced out of business because they can't afford government licensing fees for legal grows.

That may have been a bigger issue some decades back when we depended largely on imports for our cannabis. There is now a report on how much cannabis was produced in Michigan in 2020 at this point. Monthly reports from the Marijuana Regulatory Agency show dispensary sales of from 33,000 to 36,000 pounds of flower, edibles, and concentrates each month from May to November 2020. During that same period of time about 8,000 to 10,000 fluid ounces of infused liquids were sold. In December during the holiday season sales were about 64,000 pounds and 13,000 fluid ounces.

Those numbers seem impressive for an industry in its infancy. Add to that whatever caregivers, patients, and flat-out illegal growers are producing and it seems to matter less and less what's going on in other countries. Domestic product across the nation have used seeds that originated in other countries, but we don't call it Jamaican, or Columbian, or Acapulco Gold. It's about brands or specific products such as vape cartridges. None of that supply is going to be affected by a Jamaican drought.

Hopefully the weather will lighten up on the Jamaican folks so they can prosper. If you go to Jamaica, enjoy the Jamaican weed. When you're in Michigan, we've got our own thing going on.

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About The Author

Larry Gabriel

Larry Gabriel covers cannabis for Metro Times. He also writes the Detroit Watch in the monthly Michigan Cannabis Industries Report. Larry's chapter "Rebirth of Tribe" in the book Heaven Was Detroit, from jazz to hip-hop and beyond chronicles the involvement of Marcus Belgrave, Wendell Harrison, Harold McKinney,...
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