To anyone familiar with Reggae music or Jamaica, the name Bob Marley conjures up an image of peace, love, and marijuana. Search the web for his name and images pop up showing him smoking or extolling the virtues of the weed. Even though it’s classified as an illegal substance, Marley believed in the beneficial effects of using it. You could say that he was a true spokesman for the legalization of the drug.
Fast forward 33 years after his death and the name Bob Marley is once again being used to promote the use of marijuana. This time it will be a legal association brought about by the Marley family. They have made a deal to use the name and cash in on the legalized medical marijuana market.
“Marley Natural” is being launched by Privateer Holdings, a cannabis industry investment firm, and products will reach the market in late 2015. According to statements made by Marley’s daughter, the product will be organically grown heirloom Jamaican marijuana strains for use in areas of legalized medical marijuana. The company will also offer cannabis- and hemp-infused products such as lotions and sun-repair creams.
His daughter hopes this will be a “way to honor his legacy by adding his voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social harms caused by prohibition.” Legend has it that Marley smoked as much as a pound a week. He became a symbol of peace, acceptance and other ideals commonly associated with “potheads”.
Brendan Spaar visited Negril, Jamaica and saw locals indulging as he walked the beach. It seemed to be a part of the relaxed culture and almost an accepted practice even though it has been illegal for decades. Everywhere you turned there would be sounds of Marley and the Wailers reminding you that “everything was gonna be all right”. And the people seemed to embrace that feeling and were happy to share it with visitors.
Jamaica has been associated with the marijuana use and cultivation even though it is illegal there as well. However, things may finally be changing there too. In September, the Jamaican government mad an announcement that it is considering favoring a proposal to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the “holy herb” if it is being used for medicinal, and eventually, religious purposes. They seem to realize that it’s time for Jamaicans to legally benefit from the marijuana industry.
The Marley brand will have an unspecified philanthropic component to “ensure that families and communities who have been harmed by prohibition have the opportunity to benefit from the new, legal cannabis economy,” the company’s announcement said. What all this actually means, remains to be seen.