Bob Marley, legendary Jamaican reggae singer-songwriter, musician, and guitarist, will soon be the face of what’s being called the “first global brand of marijuana.”
In an announcement Tuesday on NBC’s Today, the Marley family and a Seattle-based private equity firm announced the creation of Marley Natural, “a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy” of one of marijuana’s most devoted sons. The line will include pot-infused creams, accessories (like vaporizers in the style of e-cigarettes) and strains of “heirloom Jamaican cannabis,” inspired by the herb that Marley liked to smoke.
The family and the company say this is serious business, designed to be sold like a “modern product, cleanly packaged and marketed with the help of the same agency that branded New Balance and Starbucks Coffee. The cannabis itself will be sold as “loose packed” buds, oils or concentrate, executives said. You’ll have to roll the joints yourself.
“This is what the end of prohibition looks like,” said Brendan Kennedy, the CEO ofPrivateer Holdings, which owns Marley Natural and plans to run it out of a loft space on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. “Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We’re going to help him finish it.” It’s not the first product that will bear the Marley name. The family has licensed brands of coffee, audio equipment and other goods, including “king-sized” rolling papers and shirts that say “Smoke Like a Marley”
But this is the family’s first move into marijuana. “It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation,” said Cedella Marley, 47, Bob’s first-born daughter, in a taped statement provided to NBC News. “As Daddy would say, ‘make way for the positive day.'” “Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations,” added Rohan Marley, 42, son of Bob and Rita Marley, who also appears in the video.
Marley’s wife Rita said Bob, who is said to have smoked about a pound of pot a week, would have been happy to see this happen. “He’s happy because this is what we dreamed of,” she said, referring to a legal regulated market for marijuana. “It was unruly for them to call it weed or drugs,” she continued. “We saw it as a spiritual thing, given to us by God.” Look for Marley Natural in late 2015.