Jamaica faces marijuana shortage as farmers struggle
Heavy rains followed by an extended drought, an increase in local consumption and a drop in the number of marijuana farmers have caused a shortage in the island’s famed but largely illegal market that experts say is the worst they’ve seen. “It’s a cultural embarrassment,” said Triston Thompson, chief opportunity explorer for Tacaya, a consulting and brokerage firm for the country's nascent legal cannabis industry. Jamaica, which foreigners have long associated with pot, reggae and Rastafarians, authorized a regulated medical marijuana industry and decriminalized small amounts of weed in 2015. “It destroyed everything,” said Daneyel Bozra, who grows marijuana in the southwest part of Jamaica, in a historical village called Accompong founded by escaped 18th-century slaves known as Maroons. But farmers and activists say weed sold via legal dispensaries known as herb houses is out of reach for many given that it still costs five to 10 times more than pot on the street.