“IF WE COULD SEE THE MIRACLE OF A SINGLE FLOWER CLEARLY, OUR WHOLE LIFE WOULD CHANGE.”
Dearest Cannabis Connoisseurs,
Today, I have the privilege of writing to you about an interview I had with Shana Williams, Retail Store Manager of Kaya’s Flagship location, Drax Hall.
Before we begin, an overview of Kaya Herb House…
Born in Jamaica in 2018, Kaya was the first medicinal Ganja herb house in the Caribbean and has now been awarded 16 times for their plethora of strains and extracts, as well as their amazing and unique ancillary features. Their Flagship store offers tours of Kaya Farm which has a variety of over 75 different genetics being cultivated and processed.
All of Kaya’s locations offer locally grown herbs and straight-from-the-farm extracts. Patients can bring their own medical licenses from their home country, or visit a doctor on the premises. Visitors can also enjoy a taste of Jamaica’s world-renowned cuisine and juices at their Kaya Cafe, and tourist-friendly pizza restaurant, or dab next to one of their favorite music artists as they listen to live music… and yes, tours are available.
Their holistic wellness-focused ecosystem was created to allow visitors to learn about the history of Ganja, see how it’s grown, and enjoy it in a social setting.
Kaya spreads knowledge and love for this ancient herb while bringing people together – the way Ganja is supposed to be enjoyed.
WISDOM: It is our duty to spread knowledge about ganja. Every herb has a story and only by sharing these stories are we able to create meaningful experiences.
PRIDE: As proud Jamaicans, we empower local communities and always make an effort to only use Jamaican raw materials, workforce and any kind of technology.
RESPECT: Respect drives every decision we make – from our relationships with our employees to how we treat our community, our herbs, our brand, our products and Nature.
“For thousands of years, Ganja was used to heal bodies and minds around the world. It was a centerpiece of culture, a tool used to improve society holistically, from the economy to spirituality. Then ignorance set in, and Ganja was no longer used as a tool, but as a weapon. A weapon aimed at marginalizing and discriminating. A weapon wielded not to heal, but to hurt. It’s time to rediscover Ganja’s true meaning. To use knowledge and action to reintroduce the world to one of its greatest natural healers of body and soul. To set aside our ignorance. We believe it’s time to prove, once and for all, that Ganja must never be used to drive us apart. But instead, to bring us together.”
“Kaya is the seed of a new Jamaica.”
An Interview with Shana…
I jump on the phone for a quick pre-interview call with Shana, and at first impression, I already like her. Shana Williams is bubbly, positive, and passionate about Kaya and its mission.
She is eager and ready to show me around via video, all the different venue divisions Kaya has to offer, and I’m blown away. Her passion is only over shined by her professionalism, as she takes me from one location to another. It quickly becomes evident that Kaya is more than a dispensary. Much more. The patrons seem to know each other as she greets each one by name, and they wave excitedly at the camera. Shana walks me from the music venue to the dab bar, pizzeria, and cafe to the Herb House… and I’m thinking “Get me on the next flight to Jamaica”
She takes a seat in her quiet office, and we begin.
Jessica: Can you share with our community a little about yourself and your role in Kaya?
Shana: My Name is Shana Williams, I am the Retail Store Manager for the Drax Hall Location, I am in charge of sales and daily operation of the retail store both Medicinal and Non-Medicinal.
Jessica: How Long have you been with Kaya, and how did you start?
Shana: I have been with the company before the doors were opened to the public back in March 2018. I started working at Kaya due to the fact that I relocated from Montego Bay where I was employed to Air Margaritaville. I was informed about the build-out and the soon opening from a relative of mine, I applied and here I am.
Jessica: What makes your location unique or special from the other locations?
Shana: The Drax Hall Location is the first Cannabis Store to be opened not only in Jamaica but the entire English-speaking countries. We are known as the Flagship.
Jessica: Can you tell us about all the pieces of the Drax Hall Location?
Shana: We currently operate four (4) areas, these areas are our Kaya Cafe, Kaya Pizzeria, Square Grouper Bar, and our Kaya Herb House.
Jessica: What do you think your location brought to the culture of Saint Ann?
Shana: The opening of our Herb house has brought awareness and knowledge to the people not only of the Parish but also of the entire country. Marijuana has always been viewed in a negative way and having a negative impact on society, now persons are being informed of the medicinal benefits this product has to offer, It has been said it assists with pain and illness associated with assisting persons ailing with Insomnia just to name a few.
Jessica: What is a first-hand experience like as a customer at Kaya Drax Hall?
Shana: Whether it’s your first time or you are a repeat customer, the atmosphere and ambiance are always welcoming. We are very keen on customer service while adhering to rules which govern our entities. While you can freely visit the other areas of the Non-Medicinal department, the Herb House is a bit more technical; it requires a valid National ID, a medicinal Marijuana card/or a Doctor’s Recommendation in order to purchase, we currently operate as a medicinal facility.
Jessica: Your Kaya Cafe serves, Pastries and coffee, and pizza. I heard that the Marley Brand coffee is quite special. Is it true it’s about $50 Us dollars a pound and what makes it special?
Shana: Our Cafe serves Hot and Cold Coffee along with Pastries and freshly made sandwiches. Our Top Rankin Coffee is indeed a premium Brand that is only found in Jamaica and Japan this will not be found in any other Country. All the beans are specially picked and are all of the same sizes; it is sold for USD $50.
Jessica: Can you tell us how music plays a role at your location?
Shana: Music is a part of our Jamaican Culture the same as the products we offer. Our Music is the finishing touch to authentic, awesome Jamaican feeling when you visit our Locations, and what better way to communicate to our Customers/ Patients than through Reggae music which speaks volumes.
Jessica: From what I understand, Kaya has been host to some amazing musical guests, artists, and celebrities. Can you tell us a few that you had the pleasure of having?
Shana: We have had the privilege of having DJ Rodigan, Beanie Man, Popcorn, Buju Banton, Lila Ike, Tyson Beckford, DJ Khalid, Cronnix, Protege, The Marley Brothers, Koffee just to name a few.
Jessica: Who were some of your personal favorite artists that have visited?
Shana: The interaction with our local artists has been phenomenal, the ones that truly stand out are Lila Ike, koffee, Popcorn, Beanie Man, and Toots.
Jessica: Who would you like to invite?
Shana: I am waiting for Vybz Kartel to release. We would definitely love to share our space with Gaza Boss.
Jessica: Can you tell us about your work environment? What is the team at your location like?
Shana: I am a proud manager, it’s not easy working with approximately 20 young individuals, molding them all into the way of our company’s policy, but they are willing and the greatest to work with, I am super proud of them, and they have assisted well with the operational part and meeting our daily and monthly goals of the company.
Jessica: For those of us that haven’t had the pleasure of visiting, how would you describe the culture of Jamaica? What does it feel like?
Shana: Jamaica is of diverse culture, you can find people from all over the world living and enjoying my beautiful island as our Motto states “ Out of many we are one”
Jamaica is truly a paradise, with beautiful beaches, amazing rivers, finger-licking delicious food, warm and friendly people, beautiful sunshine.
Jamaica is…simply Paradise.
Kaya isn’t a dispensary. It’s not a music venue. It’s not a cafe.
Kaya Herb House is truly a destination for anyone wanting to have a full spectrum cultural and social experience. And for the locals, Kaya is a home away from home.