Bob Marley is to become the face of the world’s first international marijuana brand.
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 wellbeing, 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 cannabis company is expected to start shipping its product to areas where dagga is now legal by the end of next year. The company – backed by Privateer Holdings, a New York-based private equity firm that deals exclusively in cannabis industry investments – will also sell creams, lotions and accessories inspired by marijuana and Marley.
“There is probably no better-known cultural icon related to cannabis than Bob Marley,” said Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of Privateer Holdings. “He called cannabis ‘the herb’ and he said the herb is the healing of the nation. And he wasn’t talking about a country; he was talking about mankind.”
More than three decades after his death, the Jamaican reggae star is more popular now than at any point during his lifetime. Over the past year, ending in October, he was the ninth highest-paid dead celebrity, according to Forbes, making $20?million, more than Marilyn Monroe or John Lennon.
The marijuana deal could potentially put Marley in the top spot, now occupied by Michael Jackson. Kennedy calculates that globally marijuana sales are worth between $150?billion and $200?billion a year, – though, of course, most of that is illicit. In the United States 23 states have some form of decriminalisation and four, plus the District of Columbia, allow recreational use.
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.” – © Guardian News & Media 2014