Meet The Mogul Bringing Great Weed Back To Jamaica

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Born and raised in Jamaica, Balram "Bali" Vaswani remembers the golden age of native ganja, famous for the Lambs Bread strain beloved by Bob Marley. "Thats really when Jamaica was kicking," Vaswani says. "We had great strains in the Seventies." Since then, Jamaican weed has fallen into decline: diluted by outside product both from the States and other countries in the Caribbean and victimized by the War on Drugs (read: burned by U.S. agents). But in an effort to boost its flagging economy, the Jamaican government decriminalized weed last year, allowing two universities to cultivate pot for medicinal use.

One of the schools teamed up with Vaswanis company, Ganja Labs, to produce the first legal harvest of unadulterated Jamaican weed. Vaswani, 40, is no ordinary stoner merchant; hes worked in banking, managed Jamaicas pioneering TV network Reggae Entertainment and established the Marley estates coffee brand in the U.S. Now, inside a 5,000-square-foot greenhouse, hes growing eight-foot-tall trees with the help of organic soil and all-day lighting. This past summer, Vaswani shared some of his first crop of medical-grade with longtime friend Rohan Marley, one of Bobs sons. "It was just beautiful," says Marley. "You can taste the soil, the pineapple and the sweetness. Bali brought the standard way up."

Vaswani isnt allowed to export yet, but he already senses the demand. "The German ambassador came to me last week and said, ‘Can we start a conversation?’" he says. "Its going to take time, but in Jamaica, we always like to have the best."

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Meet The Mogul Bringing Great Weed Back To Jamaica
Author: David Browne
Contact: Rolling Stone
Photo Credit: RS News
Website: Rolling Stone