I heard about Jacana Farm from a cab driver who took me from the Montego Bay airport to Jamaica Inn in Ocho Rios, and I knew I HAD to tour the facility. How was it that I've been coming to Jamaica for decades and didn't know about this 100 acre medicinal grade cannabis "seed to store" enterprise nestled in the mountains of St. Ann Parish?

The tour was five hours long but add a couple of hours during which my friendly driver got lost on some of the most rutted and treacherous single lane roads in Jamaica. There were NO signs guiding us to Jacana Farms. You had to know how to get there, or there was no use in trying. In fact, we passed one very large sign that warned us to TURN BACK which we did only to discover an hour later that we should have sailed right past that cautionary signage.

Don't ask me why I thought it was a good idea for a single woman to drive into the interior of Jamaica to a weed farm with a local guide (who while amazingly adept at rolling spliffs while driving) was clueless about how to get to where we were going. When I first sensed his confusion at every literal and proverbial fork in the road, I asked him if he knew how to get to Jacana Farm. He replied, "I can get us there, mon." He then texted his brother pictures of where we were and asked for directions. I had a moment of concern when I heard his brother announce that all those roads in the jungle look alike. Okay, to be truthful, I wondered for a nano-second whether I was going to wind up missing and never heard from again. But it was too late to turn back. And eventually we made it to the farm.

Jacana Farm as it turns out was founded a few years ago by a brilliant young woman named Alexandra Chong.  Chong’s idea was to produce the highest medical grade marijuana plants in the Earth’s most perfect terroir for growing cannabis.  By all appearances, she is achieving enormous success.  Jacana Farm is raising some of the cleanest, happiest seed-free weed in the world.  This is attributable not just to the climate and soil, but to the people who are dedicated to cultivating the plants.  A tour of the interior of the plant required surgical booties and hair nets.  Inside, I was able to see how a plant is processed and identified for tracing purposes.  Quality and inventory control is painstaking.  In the event you ever have a bad experience smoking Girl Scout Cookies, for example, the batch you bought can be traced to the precise plant from which the cannabis came.

I learned a lot about cannabis and how it is grown and cultivated and processed at Jacana Farm.  Notably, their plants are seedless, meaning that they are all clones.  And they are all FEMALE plants, a fact that really appealed to me.  The surrounding  mountains help to prevent pollination.  If pollination does occur, the offending plant is treated a bit like Hester Prynne.  But life for this cossetted vegetation is not entirely sterile.  As our guide informed us, the plants do enjoy a little reggae music or R & B while they are basking in the sun.  In my opinion, it is not just the terroir that makes Jacana cannabis special but the care, love and attention that so obviously goes into nurturing the plants and respecting the process of harvesting and processing those plants.  The people I met at Jacana Farm are truly earnest and sincere in their endeavors.  They are knowledgeable to the point of being weed-geeks.  From my driver (who was not employed by JF) to my guide to the young woman who prepared a lunch for us, without exception, the people I met on this tour were welcoming and full of good humor.  This was a day in Jamaica that I will never forget.

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