Bob Marley’s name, visage to market marijuana

By Caroline Dorey-Stein, Contributing Writer ||

The world’s most famous reggae singer is about to be the face of Marijuana… legally. Marley’s family has collaborated with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group capitalizing on the legal marijuana market. A mass production of the claimed “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains” (strongly associated with Marley and his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame status) will be exclusively sold to states where weed is legal starting next year.

According to Rolling Stone News, the legendary singer’s name and image will be licensed to create a “special blend of herb dubbed Marley Natural.” Privateer Holdings already has ownership of Tilray, an enormous estate on Vancouver Island, British Columbia that is also the world’s largest marijuana growing farm. But with the promising market growth of marijuana, striking while the iron is hot is the private group’s motive to venture into the States.

The blend will not be available in the U.S. where pot is legal (now including Alaska and Oregon) until late in 2015. But this is still exciting news for Marley’s family and devoted fans. As Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy told NBC News, “Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We’re going to help him finish it.” And with this marketing, Marley will likely be equally, if not more well known, for his movement to legalize weed.

Cedella Marley, 47, Bob Marley’s eldest daughter, agrees with her father’s role in the movement. “It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation,” she said in a taped statement played on NBC News. And like father like son, Rohan Marley added, “Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the mediation; herb is for the higher
vibrations.”

The company’s website released a statement saying, “Marley Natural is born of Bob Marley’s deep respect for the power of nature to heal and inspire us.” As a bonus to serving enjoyment to users, the product will stand for Marley’s belief in the benefits of cannabis and reflect elements of the Rastafarian culture. The company, in addition to cannabis itself, will offer hemp and cannabis-infused products such as sun creams and lotions.

The family and Privateer have been working since 2013 to bring the product to market. There has been a long brainstorming process regarding how to influence American marijuana users to adhere to some of the Jamaican lifestyles.

This will not be the first time the Marley family has teamed up with big business to utilize the name of the artist who died in 1981. Hilco Brands formed a joint venture with the family in 2008 to promote products including “Marley’s Mellow Mood Beverages” and the “House of Marley” headphones and audio. The former is a healthy, natural drink that is supposed to embody Bob Marley’s message of “Unity, Freedom, Peace, Empowerment, and Love,” as cited on drinkmarley.com.

By this time next year we will see whether the cannabis line was a popular success in the United States.

Senior Caroline Dorey-Stein is a staff writer. Her email is cdoreyst@fandm.edu.

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