Monday, August 15, 2022

The scientist planting ganja smoked by Bob Marley

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.
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A scientist from Dominica has moved to Jamaica purposely to research and grow the best ever ganja smoked by prominent Rastafarians including the late Bob Marley.

Dr. Machel Emanuel has been planting a field of cannabis in his lab at the botanical garden of the Biology Department of the University of the West Indies in Kingston.

The 35-year-old has been growing cannabis since 2001. He moved to Jamaica in 2007 to pursue his studies.

His now has doctorate in biology, specializing in horticulture and the adaptation of plants to climate.

Emanuel specializes in the “Landrace” cannabis. It is believed it grew naturally in Jamaica before disappearing due to human activity.

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He told the AFP that “In the 50s, 60s, 70s, Jamaica was known for its landrace cultivar which definitely gave Jamaica that international reputation.”

Landrace was reportedly smoked by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailers. They were founding members of the celebrated reggae group The Wailers.

Emanuel said the plant adapts to its environment and with “unique growing characteristics based on its flower, on the smell, on the flavor, even on the euphoria” consumers derive from it.

Reggae legends’ ganja

The biologist calls the Landrace cannabis the reggae legends’ ganja. He revealed that the plant has now been replaced by modern, artificially created cannabis.

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He explained that in the 1980s cultivation of the plant was abandoned. That was after a declared war by the US on drugs.


Landrace cannabis was easily spotted at the time and because of its height and destroyed. That paved war for easier-to-hide hybrids to be cultivated.

Emanuel loves ganja himself but only consumes it through vaporization or aromatherapy. He has given himself the task of recovering the lost landrace varieties and reproduce them in his lab.

Emanuel told AFP that Jamaica should take the lead in establishing a geographical indicator for its home-grown cannabis “just like Champagne in France.”

“There is a nostalgia value that could be added based on marketing applications,” he said adding “Jamaica’s reputation was basically built on these plants.”

Dr Machel A. Emanuel holds up potted cannabis plants in a green house in Jamaica. PHOTO| AFP




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