Pubdate: Wed, 19 Nov 2014
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Post Company
Author: Abby Phillip
Page: C1


It's fair to say that Bob Marley probably could not have imagined 
that 33 years after his death, his name would be lent to what is 
about to be the newest entrant to the burgeoning legal marijuana market.

The reggae icon was perhaps the most prominent and outspoken advocate 
of the drug throughout his life and at the height of his fame. He 
viewed it as a spiritual and creative force that was probably more 
likely to be legalized by "Christ's government" than governments here on Earth.

But times have changed - in a big way. Look no further than Tuesday's 
announcement by Marley's family that it plans to piggyback on 
successful efforts to legalize marijuana in the United States and 
elsewhere by introducing a brand of marijuana products bearing the 
late singer's name.

"Marley Natural" is being launched by Privateer Holdings, a cannabis 
industry investment firm, and products will go on sale in late 2015.

"My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing 
power of the herb," Marley's daughter Cedella Marley said in a news 
release. "He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken 
our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and 
liberate our creativity." PRIVATEER HOLDINGS VIA REUTERS Family 
members of the late reggae singer Bob Marley are, from left, Cedella 
Marley, one of his daughters, wife Rita Marley and Rohan Marley, one 
of his sons. Bob Marley was an evangelist for "the herb."

"Marley Natural is an authentic way to honor his legacy by adding his 
voice to the conversation about cannabis and helping end the social 
harms caused by prohibition," she added.

The brand will offer organically grown heirloom Jamaican marijuana 
strains, in keeping with Marley's preference for high-quality 
marijuana grown without the use of fertilizer. It will be available 
in jurisdictions that allow recreational or medicinal marijuana 
sales. The brand also plans to offer cannabis- and hemp-infused 
products such as lotions and sun-repair creams.

Marley reportedly smoked as much as a pound of marijuana per week. 
But at the time of his intense fame in the United States and around 
the world, he was viewed as a nonconformist symbol.

Marley has become even more of a global icon and brand in the years 
since his death, but that it's now happening in a world in which 
marijuana is decriminalized in some places is something even he did 
not foresee.

"Legalize herb? Boy, I jus' don' know. It's kinda legalized already," 
he noted in a 1976 interview with High Times.

He was referring to the widespread use and cultivation of marijuana 
in Jamaica, where the drug has been illegal for more than 100 years. 
And change is coming there, too.

In late September, the Jamaican government announced that it is 
considering support for a proposal to decriminalize possession of 
small amounts of what Marley and Rastafarians called the "holy herb" 
if it is being used for medicinal, and eventually, religious purposes.

That is a direct result of the loosening of legalization laws in some 
U.S. states - although marijuana remains an illegal Schedule I 
substance under federal law.

Over the years, critics of harsh marijuana laws have argued that the 
penalties have done little to stamp out organized crime associated 
with the trafficking of black market drugs, including marijuana, 
through the island.

And there is a potentially huge financial upside, as the investment 
firm Privateer Holdings has sought to demonstrate with its recent 
business ventures involving marijuana.

"The time has come to provide an opportunity for Jamaicans to benefit 
from the marijuana industry," Kingston Mayor Angela Brown-Burke said 
recently, the Associated Press reported.

The marketing of Marley Natural 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," Privateer Holdings' announcement said.

"My husband believed ' the herb' was a natural and positive part of 
life and he felt it was important to the world," Marley's wife, Rita, 
said in a statement.
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