Marijuana, or ganja as its known locally, is illegal
throughout Jamaica. Does this mean that you won’t see it? Not at
Marijuana can be found virtually everywhere. We’ve seen Rastas
smoking spliffs the size of cigars right along the roadside. If
you take a tourist bus from Montego Bay to Negril, you’ll see
vendors jump from behind a tree with a wad of ganja and a cigarette
the size of a small baton as the bus slows down to make a sharp
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Adventure Guide - This travel guide walks with the adventurous
traveler to the heart of Jamaica, to the miles of sand beaches,
to the rugged Blue Mountains, to the country villages that provide
a peek at the real Jamaica|
But, for all the smooth
talk of these professional sellers, remember that marijuana is illegal.
Drug penalties are becoming stiffer, and drug prevention measures
more stringent. Customs screens bags of passengers both leaving
and entering the country, using dogs in most cases.
TIP: The open flaunting of drugs is a major turnoff for tourists,
who often feel threatened. However, we’ve found that politeness,
coupled with firmness and respect, brings an end to the discussion
The come-ons to tourists vary from vendor to vendor, but expect
to be approached by friendly young men who introduce themselves
by name, shake your hand and ask, “is this your first time to Jamaica?”
Other approaches include, “Remember me from yesterday?” and “I met
your friend down the beach.” From there the offers extend from motorcycle
rides to see fields of ganja to attempts at selling “party stuff”
or “stuff I grew myself.”
As is the case with market and beach vendors, dealing with drug
entrepreneurs requires firm politeness. “No, thank you” will generally
end the transaction. Stay cool, move on, and realize that these
businessmen are just out to make a buck, which on this island is
not always an easy proposition.
Adventure travelers should keep in mind that marijuana is grown
in fields on the island and that the farmers are fiercely protective
of their crop. While exploring off the beaten path, be sure you
know where you’re headed. Talk with local guides and tourist offices
about your planned route so that you don’t find yourself stumbling
upon a well-guarded ganja field.
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