Finally, the world’s largest marijuana trade show is coming to Jamaica.
High Times Magazine is bringing Cannabis Cup to Jamaica’s Rastafari Rootz Fest on November 12 to 15 at Long Bay Beach Park in Negril. Originally founded as a private event in 1988 at Amsterdam, the Cannabis Cup has evolved into the largest gathering of ganja enthusiasts, where everyone marijuana entrepreneur presents the marijuana industry’s latest technological advances through seminars, expositions, and product showcases.
Since the Cannabis Cup will be hosted by the Rastafari Rootz Fest, the daytime informational sessions will be complemented by nightly reggae concerts featuring homegrown Jamaican Rastafarian artists like Bushman, The Mighty Diamonds, Fred Locks, Tarrus Riley, Luciano, Jah Bouks, and Jawara McIntosh.
“When you look at the adoption of legal cannabis, reggae music has led the way,” said Matt Stang, High Times’ director of advertising and sponsorships, in an exclusive interview with Billboard. “We want to promote our event through reggae, and we chose artists who are pro-ganja, pro-Rastafarian, pro-peace.”
The Rastafarians have always treated marijuana as a sacred herb, even though it was considered illegal in Jamaica until recently. Just last February 6, the island’s Dangerous Drugs Act was amended, decriminalizing personal possession of two ounces or less of ganja, and punishable only by a $5 fine. Furthermore, each household is now permitted to grow a maximum of five cannabis plants. Rastafarians can also use the herb for sacramental purposes.
“For years, I&I have declared herb, ganja as part of our rituals similar to how the church uses breads and wine,” said Ras Iyah-V, festival organizer and president of the Westmoreland Hemp and Ganja Farmers Association. “It was a violation of our constitutional rights and from a United Nations Charter point of view, we should have been able to enjoy those rights from long ago.”
Stang expects at least 7,000 attendees in this event, even though it is considered modest by Cannabis Cup standards. “The success will be in showing the world what Jamaica can gain by becoming legal, and a destination for this kind of event. We want to push the real grassroots culture of the Rastafari religious sacrament in a way that is free and open to all Jamaicans,” he said.
Voice your opinions in the comments section below – your opinion matters to the nation.