In Jamaica, herb houses are essentially dispensaries or shops that sell marijuana or cannabis products. But before we dive into the current state of weed dispensaries in Kingston, let’s take a step back and look at the history of marijuana in Jamaica.
The history of marijuana in Jamaica
Historically, marijuana has been used for medicinal, religious, and recreational purposes in Jamaica. The plant was believed to be introduced to the island by East Indian indentured servants in the mid-19th century. Over time, it became ingrained in Jamaican culture and was widely used for various purposes.
However, with the rise of the global drug trade and pressure from international governments, marijuana was criminalized in Jamaica in 1913. This led to a thriving black market for cannabis, and its use remained prevalent among the Jamaican people.
In recent years, there has been a shift towards legalizing marijuana in Jamaica. In 2015, the Jamaican government passed amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act, which decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and allowed for its use for medicinal, religious, and scientific purposes. This was a significant step forward for Jamaica regarding health and economic benefits and acknowledging the cultural significance of marijuana.
This change in legislation opened up opportunities for herb houses to operate legally in Jamaica. Today, there are several dispensaries in Kingston that sell a variety of cannabis products, from dried buds to oils and edibles.
Bob Marley Museum Dispensary
This dispensary is located at the legendary Bob Marley Museum, giving you the unique opportunity to learn about the history of marijuana in Jamaica while purchasing high-quality products.
Location: 6, Bob Marley Museum, 56 Hope Rd, Kingston
Kaya Herb House
Not only does this dispensary offer a wide variety of marijuana products, but it also has a restaurant and spa that incorporate cannabis into their services for a holistic experience. You need to sign up for a free membership to purchase products here. Kaya has a charming veranda to enjoy the night.
Opening hours: 9 am to 10 pm
Location: 82 Lady Musgrave Rd, Kingston
Website: click here
Sign-up fee: $ 2300 JA
This dispensary prides itself on providing top-quality, locally-grown marijuana products while advocating for responsible and sustainable cultivation practices. They have a really cute smoking lunge, which actually is a very cool co-working place, too.
Opening hours: 12 pm to 9 pm
Location: 10A West Kings House, Kingston
This is the first licensed producer of medical cannabis in Jamaica, with a focus on sustainable and ethical cultivation practices. Their products are available at dispensaries throughout the island, including their flagship store in Kingston. Shopping for your herb there is truly one of the most fun shopping experiences! I absolutely love it! The product display is beautiful and informative. Choose your herb by mood: peace, joy, or passion. You can also visit their farm on a daytrip.
Opening hours: Mo-Sa from 9 am to 19
Location: New Kingston Dispensary Unit 9 New Kingston Business Centre, 45-47 Grenada Crescent, Kingston
Website: click here
Sign-up: free with quick online doctor’s council
With a sleek and modern design, this dispensary offers a variety of high-quality marijuana products and educational resources for customers. I liked that the buds were displayed in magnifying glasses so you could truly admire them.
Opening hours: Every day from 10 am- 10 pm
Location: Shop #3, Market Place, 67c Constant Spring Rd, Kingston
Sign-up fee: $1000 JA
Ohja Life Dispensary
With locations in Kingston and Montego Bay, this dispensary is quickly making a name for itself as one of the island’s top cannabis retailers. OHJA boasts a wide range of products designed to cater to any user experience. Whether you’re interested in smoking a joint, vaporizing, dabbing, or consuming edibles, OHJA has you covered. What sets OHJA apart from other dispensaries is their commitment to providing visitors with a truly integrated experience. They have their own growing operation, and visitors can even book ganja farm tours right from their website.
Opening hours: 12 pm to 8 pm
Location: 90 Barbican Rd, Kingston, Jamaika
Website: click here
Star Buds has brought its innovative herb house concept to Jamaica with the opening of its first international location in Kingston. Situated in the heart of the city near the famous Bob Marley Museum, the dispensary is unlike any other you’ll find on the island. While most herb houses are vertically integrated with their own growers, Star Buds supports the local ganja industry by procuring its inventory from local suppliers. This means customers can trust that they’re getting fresh, high-quality products that are sustainably sourced. Plus, Star Buds offers a unique shopping experience by allowing customers to see and examine products before they’re packaged, ensuring 100% satisfaction with every purchase.
Opening hours: Daily from 11 am till 9.30 pm
Location: 2 3/4 Ruthven Rd. Kingston Jamaica
Website: click here
As the industry continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial to ensure that the benefits are shared among all members of society, especially those who have long been marginalized due to their involvement with marijuana. This includes small-scale farmers, Rastafarians, and other individuals who have faced discrimination and persecution for their use or cultivation of marijuana.
So, next time you visit Jamaica, be sure to visit one of the many weed dispensaries and experience the rich history and culture surrounding marijuana firsthand. Let’s continue educating ourselves and others about this plant and its potential benefits while advocating for responsible and ethical use. As Bob Marley famously said, “The herb is the healing of a nation; alcohol is the destruction.” Let’s choose healing and progress over stigma and discrimination. Keep blazing responsibly! #LegalizeIt #OneLove
Practical travel tips for Kingston & Jamaica
Which language is spoken in Jamaica?
The official language is English, but you'll also hear Jamaican Patois spoken throughout the country. It's a colorful and vibrant mix of English, West African languages, and Spanish influences. Don't be afraid to interact with locals and try out some basic phrases in Patois - they'll appreciate the effort and you may even learn a thing or two.
What is the offical currency in Jamaica?
The Jamaican dollar is the official currency and is accepted everywhere on the island. However, US dollars are widely accepted as well, so it's always a good idea to have some cash in both currencies. You can easily exchange your money at banks or ATMs throughout the city. Just be aware that the exchange rate may vary, so it's best to check before making a transaction. Also, don't forget to tip - it's customary in Jamaica and greatly appreciated by service industry workers. So make sure you have some small bills on hand for tipping at restaurants, bars, and hotels.
What is the best time to visit Kingston?
The climate stays pleasant all year round. It might rain a bit more during hurricane season from June to September, but you still won't get bored on rainy days!
Kingston is home to many festival and events, so if you want to check them out, plan your dates accordingly.
Is Kingston safe for travelers?
Downtown Kingston is not the place to just stroll around without knowing anybody. Uptown Kingston is much safer and easier to move around. Generally speaking, Kingston is not the place for walking anywhere after dark, and its best to move around with a driver you know.
Public Transport in Kingston, Jamaica
Route Taxis are the way to move around Jamaica. Official route taxis have a red license plate. In MoBay, you'll see the route they are catering to written on the doors. Route taxis are the cheapest and most flexible way to move around. Just be careful to enter/exit on the route. Otherwise, you'll be charged as a charter taxi. In Kingston, the Route Taxis are not as obvious, but they drive the most prominent streets and honk to let you know they are available.
Public Bus: The stop for buses to leave from downtown. I couldn't find a schedule. They seem to go more frequently than the Knutsford.
Knutsford: Leaving from from the downtown station, Jamaica's luxury bus connects more significant destinations. Be aware that the time stated refers to calculated driving time and not the actual time to reach a destination. Adding to the driving time are stops and bus switches which are not apparent when buying the ticket. Due to Covid, there are fewer buses than usual, so buying the ticket online is better.
Can I drink tap water in Jamaica?
Even though Jamaica is considered a third-world country, it provides the best water quality in the region. You are, therefore, safe to drink tap water. This is especially true in the cities. However, if it makes you feel uneasy, bring a water purifier.
What's the biggest challenge for the conscious traveler?
Tourism leakage: Jamaica is a tropical paradise that's adored by tourists worldwide, but it has a problem that's hidden from sight - tourism leakage. This phenomenon refers to the loss of revenue that occurs when international hotel chains capture a large chunk of tourist dollars, leaving very little money behind to benefit the local economy. If you're among the millions of visitors who flock to Jamaica every year, there's a simple way to help mitigate the effects of tourism leakage: support Jamaican-owned hotels, shops, and restaurants. By doing so, you can put your money where your heart is - and give the people of Jamaica a chance to thrive. So don't be shy about seeking out local businesses on your next vacation. Your decision to keep tourism dollars within Jamaica could make a world of difference.
While Jamaica is known for its beautiful beaches, there have been some issues with access to these public spaces. In recent years, many resorts and private properties have restricted access to certain parts of the beach, making it incredibly difficult for locals to maintain their life and right to the sea. Support public beaches and say no to all-inclusive tourism!
Make sure to bring a foldable food container and cutlery with you! The amount of waste caused by food sold on the street is incredible.
Make sure to protect Jamaica's marine life and bring reef-friendly sunscreen!
Packing List Jamaica
As you see, there are plenty of things to experience in Jamaica. To come fully prepared, check out my packing list for Jamaica, which includes everything from eco-friendly toiletries to sustainable fashion and even the coolest travel gadgets!
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