Bob Marley’s family launches global cannabis brand – video report
Dec 22, 2014
The Guardian - Family of late reggae superstar teams up with private equity firm to launch Marley Natural, which will offer ‘heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains’
The late reggae superstar’s family has teamed up with a private equity firm to launch Marley Natural, which will offer “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains” inspired by those Marley enjoyed.
“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” said Cedella Marley, Bob’s daughter. “He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and liberate our creativity.”
She said Marley Natural was an “authentic way to honour his legacy by adding his voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social harms caused by prohibition.”
The company will be headquartered in New York City. Marley paraphernalia and topicals will be available worldwide. Its actual marijuana products will all have the same branding but will be grown and distributed locally in jurisdictions where the drug is legal in order to abide by the patchwork of regulation that now covers cannabis consumption.
The launch of pot’s first global brand comes as the prohibition on pot is being challenged worldwide and so-called “canna-business” is growing at the sort of rate usually reserved for the tech industry.
Dozens of states across the US have allowed the sale of medical marijuana. Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia allow the drug to be sold for recreational purposes. Colorado expects residents and visitors to buy 130 metric tons of marijuana this year. It collected $26.7m in taxes, licenses and fees on marijuana sales in the month of September, the latest data available.
While illegal sales constitute the majority of the cannabis economy, legal sales are growing strongly. Last year legal marijuana sales topped $1.42bn, according to a report from Arcview Market Research, this year they predict that figure will grow by 64% to $2.34bn next year.
Marley, who died in 1981 aged 36, was a Rastafarian, and believed marijuana was a “sacrament” sanctioned by the Bible. (According to Psalms 104:14, “He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man.”)
Marley died without leaving a will, leading to years of litigation over ownership of his recordings, publishing and other assets. In 2011 Billboard magazine estimated that the trade in pirated Marley music and merchandise was worth $600m a year.
But the reggae idol never showed much interest in money. In 1979, when Marley was asked on the 60 Minutes news show whether he was a rich man with a lot of possessions, Marley said: “Possessions make you rich? I don’t have that type of richness. My richness is life, forever.”