‘Pon De Left Hand Side: 1st Ever Ganja Festival Coming To Negril

Open Jaw

For many travellers to Negril over the past few decades, ganja – or marijuana – has been one of the attractions of Negril. But the ‘herb,’ though readily available, has been illegal all that time, despite being seen as a sacrament by Jamaica’s Rastafarian believers.

Amendments to Jamaica's Dangerous Drugs Act that came into effect 15APR protect Rastafari sacramental and religious rights and allow the staging of an exempt event where ganja can be present.

One result of the loosening of regulations is the 1st Ganja Festival and Cannabis Cup in Negril, set for 12-15NOV. The event is a partnership between Rastafari Rootzfest and High Times, the best-known magazine of cannabis culture.

Ganja Festival is described as “the 1st international wellness festival which celebrates Jamaica’s indigenous peoples and their cultural heritage, inclusive of educational seminars, commerce, art and music.”

The goal of the project “is to produce a comprehensive, educational and well-organized Rastafari event that celebrates Rastafari ideology, livity (sic) and culture; tells the story of Rastafari struggle for the legalization of ganja and celebrates the decriminalization of ganja in Jamaica. Rastafari Rootzfest™ is also conceptualized as an Annual Ganja Festival, Consumer Expo, Trade Show and Competition.”

During the event, Jamaica will for the 1st time host the High Times World Cannabis Cup, an international competition to select the best cannabis strains. Rick Cusick, High Times Associate publisher, said, “We are very excited to finally get a good close look at the many varieties of Jamaican ganja from all over the island so we can pass the results along to our readers and to the world.”

The High Times Jamaican Cannabis Cup competition will only be open to Jamaican ganja grown exclusively by Jamaican farmers. The judging panels will include traditional Rastafarian experts as well as professional High Times connoisseurs.

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