Jamaica is running low on ganja. Heavy rains followed by an extended drought, an increase in local consumption and a drop in the number of marijuana farmers have caused a shortage in the island’s famed, but largely illegal market that experts say is the worst they have seen.
“It’s a cultural embarrassment,” said Triston Thompson, chief opportunity explorer for Tacaya, a consulting and brokerage firm for the country’s nascent legal cannabis industry.
Jamaica, which foreigners have long associated with pot, reggae and Rastafarians, authorized a regulated medical marijuana industry and decriminalized small amounts of weed in 2015.
Enforcement is spotty as many tourists and locals continue to buy marijuana on the street, where it has grown more scarce — and more expensive.
Heavy rains during last year’s hurricane season pummeled marijuana fields that were later scorched in the drought that followed, causing tens of thousands of dollars in losses, according to farmers who cultivate pot outside the legal system.
“It destroyed everything,” said Daneyel Bozra, who grows marijuana in the southwest part of Jamaica, in a historical village called Accompong founded by escaped 18th-century slaves known as Maroons.
Worsening the problem were strict COVID-19 measures, including a 6pm curfew that meant farmers could not tend to their fields at night as is routine, said Kenrick Wallace, 29, who cultivates about a hectare in Accompong with the help of 20 other farmers.
He said that a lack of roads forces many farmers to walk to reach their fields — and then to get water from wells and springs. Many were unable to do those chores at night due to the curfew.
Wallace estimated that he lost more than US$18,000 in the past few months and cultivated only 136kg, compared with an average of 318kg to 363kg the group normally produces.
Activists said they believe the pandemic and a loosening of marijuana laws has led to an increase in local consumption that has contributed to the scarcity, even if the pandemic has put a dent in the arrival of ganja-seeking tourists.
“Last year was the worst year... We’ve never had this amount of loss,” Thompson said. “It’s something so laughable that cannabis is short in Jamaica.”
Tourists have taken notice, placing posts on travel Web sites about difficulties finding the drug.
Some say that the third time’s a charm. Not so for SpaceX, whose unmanned rocket on Wednesday exploded on the ground after carrying out what had seemed to be a successful flight and landing — fresh on the heels of two fiery crashes. It was yet another flub involving a prototype of the Starship rocket, which SpaceX hopes one day to send to Mars. “A beautiful soft landing,” a SpaceX commentator said on a live broadcast of the test flight, although flames were coming out at the bottom and crews were trying to put them out. The rocket exploded a few minutes later,
LEGAL ORDEAL: The heavy caseload involving 47 defendants and the vagaries of a Beijing-imposed security law made it difficult for the court to rule on bail requests Dozens of Hong Kong democracy advocates charged with subversion yesterday returned to court to complete a marathon bail hearing that was adjourned overnight when four defendants were rushed to hospital after hours of legal wrangling. Police on Sunday arrested 47 of the territory’s best-known dissidents for “conspiracy to commit subversion” in the broadest use yet of a sweeping National Security Law that Beijing imposed on the territory last year. The defendants represent a broad cross-section of Hong Kong’s opposition, from veteran former pro-democracy lawmakers to academics, lawyers, social workers and youth advocates. Hundreds of supporters gathered outside a courthouse on Monday for the
China, under growing global pressure over its treatment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, is mounting an unprecedented and aggressive campaign to push back, including explicit attacks on women who have made claims of abuse. As allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang mount, with a growing number of Western lawmakers accusing China of genocide, Beijing is focusing on discrediting the female Uighur witnesses behind reports of abuse. Chinese officials have named women, disclosed medical data and information on their fertility, and accused some of having affairs and one of having a sexually transmitted disease. Officials said that the information was evidence of bad character,
The plane laden with vaccines had just rolled to a stop at Santiago’s airport in late January and Chilean President Sebastian Pinera was beaming. “Today is a day of joy, emotion and hope,” he said. The source of that hope: China — a country that Chile and dozens of other nations are depending on to help rescue them from the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s vaccine diplomacy campaign has been a surprising success: It has pledged about 500 million doses of its vaccine to more than 45 countries, according to a country-by-country tally by The Associated Press (AP). With just four of China’s many