There has been a distinct culture-shift in Jamaica since the opening of cannabis dispensaries and herb-houses. Jamaica saw the opening of Kaya Herb House, just outside of Ocho Rios, followed by Epican in Kingston and Island Strains in Montego Bay. Each entity had their corner of Jamaica covered and were the first-movers in the space. Making a distinct mark on the medicinal and higher-end cannabis consumption trends.
Shift down the timeline to today, where there are now three dispensary locations in Kingston, two in Montego Bay and Negril has finally entered the fray with the opening of Apollon Formularies, with all existing entities opening location there in coming weeks to months. Each of these operations have the distinction of being wholly vertically integrated and each location grows their own plants.
Relative newcomer to Kingston, Itopia Life also has plans for islandwide expansion and offer a holistic healing experience, with culinary offerings and activities.
Strains and Cultivars… are the same thing.
Most, if not all of Jamaica’s cannabis production takes place outdoors. There is a distinct difference in how marijuana is grown indoors and outside. Plants actually take on different qualities in appearance, which could also lead one to assume, this may also change the chemical make-up of any given plant. Ganja’s multitude of elements and ganja’s capacity to grow almost anywhere on the planet, would suggest that climatic and geographical differences could have an effect on the ganja’s quality and effect on the body.
As such, there seems to be a trend towards propagating plants with specific medicinal benefits. Sensi Herb House in Kinston, displays their strains according to the effect it provides to the consumer. Looking at the menus of all of the dispensaries, one can identify a pride in the production and hopefully patenting strains or cultivars as they are also called. Kaya Herb House in Kingston and now, Trelawny, proudly displays awards they have won at previous editions of the world famous Rastafari Rootzfest, held in Negril, Jamaica, every December.
Location, Location, Location.
The dispensary/ herb-house experience is similar in each location in that, purchases are made over the counter and consumption is done in a designated area. The offering of ancillary services is quickly becoming the norm. Coupled with smoke rooms and dab stations, locations like Kaya Herb House also houses a cafe and pizzeria.
One thing that is clear, the local businesses cater to a higher-end, therapeutic local market. Visitors seeking cannabis therapy are very welcome. Although, spaces like Kaya Herb House offer a large property, with amenities, its Drax Hall location suggests a level of confidence CEO of Kaya Herb House, Balram Vaswani has in the local market. Island Strains and Apollon, boasts a large outdoor oceanfront deck, thereby infusing cannabis therapy with the sounds of waves and a calming scenic view.
The words, Jamaica, Ganja and Tourism can be easily made into a motivational pitch for any vacation seeker or for any savvy investor. Apollon Formularies have partnered with Doc’s Place, to provide the world’s first Global Center of Excellence for Medical Cannabis Therapy, a place for physician-administered safe and legal medical cannabis treatments. They are offering a holistic healing experience in Negril and are opening a 100 room location soon. Currently, their offerings will include accommodation, consultancies and treatment in the serenity offered by a beach front location in Negril.
Perhaps the boldest move has been made by Sensi Medicinal Cannabis House. They are located at the Pulse Compound on Trafalgar Road in Kingston, just upstairs from the Peter Tosh Museum and adjacent to Rooms by Pulse. An all-in-one, cannabis and cultural site, where one can rest and get to a business meeting the next day.
As with any trend, they spread. Each of the dispensaries and herb-houses are opening more locations throughout the country. Sensi Medicinal Cannabis will be a first-mover in Portmore and Negril should get a boost in tourist visits in particular, from those seeking therapeutic ganja. Each of the above mentioned business are opening doors in Negril and kingston will get its first taste of the Kaya Herb House culture in Kingston. Kaya Herb House recently won the Jack Herer Cup award for the “Best Dispensary” at CanEx Business Conference and Expo 2019. This is the first of the Jack Here Awards, certain to be a coveted prize in coming years. Let us see what they will bring.