September 9, 2013

"This one here is the original sinsemilla, Bob Marley's favorite. And this one here is the chocolate skunk. It's special for the ladies."

Pot tourism in Jamaica, modeled on those wine tours people do in northern California.
Here, in Jamaica's verdant central mountains, dreadlocked men escort curious visitors to a farm where deep-green marijuana plants grow out of the reddish soil. Similar tours are offered just outside the western resort town of Negril, where a marijuana mystique has drawn weed-smoking vacationers for decades...

"I can get stronger stuff at home, but there's something really special about smoking marijuana in Jamaica. I mean, this is the marijuana that inspired Bob Marley," said a 26-year-old tourist from Minnesota who only identified herself as Angie as she crumbled some pot into rolling paper.
I have a problem generally with traveling to foreign countries. Is this what they mean by broadening the mind? Isn't it mind-expanding enough to consume the powerful Minnesota marijuana while playing Bob Marley records and contemplating the man who no longer lives anywhere in his natural habitat? Do people from Jamaica journey to Minnesota to think about Prince? (And he's still around. You might entertain the hope of actually seeing him.)

My mind is already sufficiently expanded to contemplate Bob Marley solely by reading about him and remembering hearing his music, and it's also expanded enough to imagine how bad I would feel getting near criminal activity in a foreign country.

I picture: "He was a 20-year-old American boy, up against a system he didn't understand, spoken in a language he couldn't speak...." Can you handle your legal problems in the language of Jamaica?



Yes, of course marijuana is still illegal in Jamaica. Here's another quote from Breezy, the Jamaican pot farmer quoted in the post title:
"The government needs to free up marijuana soon, man, because it's a natural thing, a spiritual thing.... And the tourists love it."
Ah, but what sort of bland old rule-abiding travelers would clog up the place, ruining the ambiance, if it weren't a crime? What's marijuana without the transgressive edge?

15 comments:

Gahrie said...

What's marijuana without the transgressive edge?

The same thing as pretentious wine vintages without prohibition.

They've also been doing tours of the French and Napa vineyards for a long time now.

Ron said...

The pot version of 'Sideways'! Call my agent! And Woody Harrelson....

madAsHell said...

I draw the line at suicide tourists in Switzerland.

Titus said...

Why do you have a problem traveling to foreign countries?

Do you have any curiousity in seeing how other people live?

Christy said...

Women wanting to braid your hair and guys wanting to sell you pot are the first people you meet when you get off the ship in Jamaica. Annoyingly persistent, too.

mark said...

>> What's marijuana without the transgressive edge?

....... medicine ............ welcome to Colorado !

sonicfrog said...

White guys speaking Jamaican....

I lived in San Diego in the late 80's. Me and friends used to go see a Caribbean / Calypso styled band called "Dr Chico's Island Sounds".

Very fun band. Had limbo contest where I would always get second place!.... Damned You Paul Maxwell!!!!

Anyway. The lead singer sported a Jamaican accent. But it got annoying because he would always do his Jamaican accent, even when he was not on stage.

Then I went away to finish college, and when I came back two years later, the band was still going. But we had all moved on to other things, like having our own band, so didn't see them anymore. It was OK though... The band was soon enough put out of commission when it was discovered that the lead singer guy was also the Pacific Beach rapist!

Lesson here is - Don't trust white guys with Jamaican accents!

James Graham said...

Jamaica's national animal is the human pest, the natives who accost (and accost and accost) foreign tourists without end. My solution was to turn around and spend all my time on board the ship.

YoungHegelian said...

Great link to the "Jamaican dad".

Near to where I live is an ice cream parlor owned by a (black) Jamaican family. I know the owner from the Chamber of Commerce and from having patronized the store for many years.

When the owner talks to an American, her English slips to standard American with a bit of a Jamaican accent. When a Jamaican customer comes in for ice cream, and they get to talking it's like "Gosh, I wonder what language they're speaking..."

LordSomber said...

I've always heard stories not to buy pot in Jamaica. Supposedly the dealer will narc on rich tourist and split the money with the cop.

Regardless of whether that's true, you can see the stuff growing all over the place -- why waste your cash?

Sixty Grit said...

Fear of Flying - it's not just a bad book, it is a mental illness.

John Constantius said...

What's marijuana without the transgressive edge?

I suppose you could ask all the pot (and prostitution) tourists in Amsterdam what they could possibly get out of it since it isn't transgressive there. Alternately, you might make the natural assumption that the tourists smoke weed and bang hookers there because they actually enjoy getting stoned and having sex.

Why do you have a problem traveling to foreign countries? Do you have any curiousity in seeing how other people live?

Please don't go there Titus. It never ends well.

Ann Althouse said...

"Why do you have a problem traveling to foreign countries?Do you have any curiousity in seeing how other people live?"

Why would how the way they act around me have anything to do with how they live other than a way of life oriented to tourism in which case I could see myself as agent of distortion, which is not something I'm curious about, no?

cubanbob said...

Believe it or not there are white Jamaicans. Indeed there are white locals in all of the English Carribean islands. Some are of English descent others are Arabs-mostly Christians. Some of them are my customers. Years ago I attended a wedding in Nassau where the bride's famy were descendants from the original English settlers. Ya mon, there be white people in the islands.

I really don't understand Ann's aversion to traveling. I wonder if she feels that way about traveling in a continent sized country like the US? The US is not that homogenized yet. Anyway to each his own.

Scott said...

"I have a problem generally with traveling to foreign countries. ...

Of the same ilk as Sister Wendy Beckett, the art historian who never ever went to see paintings in galleries, but chose instead to stay at home and view them in postcards.

Which is stupid. If you've ever seen Dali's "The Sacrament of the Last Supper" in a book or print, and then viewed it in the National Gallery, you know what I mean. The painting is nine feet wide. The scale of the work adds emotional impact, at the very least.

You never have to travel? You never have to go to a Bob Dylan concert either.