The family Of Bob Marley has joined with a United States equity firm in hopes to build the first global brand of cannabis, reports the Guardian.
Equity firm Privateer Holdings, out of Seattle, has announced that it has reached a licensing deal with heirs of Marley. They plan to offer marijuana strains, including a strain from Jamaica.
“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” said Cedella Marley, the oldest daughter of the legendary music icon who died of cancer back in 1981.
Marley’s estate has authorized deals for a wide selection of merchandise over the years, but the recent move to create Marley Natural has created protest in his homeland of Jamaica. Those in Jamaica who share Marley’s Rastafarian faith, a spiritual movement that believes cannabis is divine, are unhappy with the decision to use his name and image.
Maxine Stowe of the Rastafari Millennium Council fears that launching a cannabis brand with Marley’s name and image will negatively impact Jamaica’s efforts to benefit financially from the legalization movement.
“The government has to stand up now for Rastafari and the Wailers’ rights in their intellectual property!” Stowe wrote in an email on Tuesday.
Many Jamaicans are angry that Marley Natural will be based in New York. Jamaica is rethinking its position on pot, which for now is prohibited. Many officials believe they will amend drug laws to help pave the way for regulated marijuana. They are aiming to achieve that sometime next year.
Delano Seiveright, director of the Jamaica’s Ganja Law Reform Coalition, says that he hopes Marley’s heirs’ plans will give Jamaica a push toward legalizing the country’s cannabis industry quicker, reports USA Today.
“There is something irredeemably naff about Marley’s name being used to promote marijuana-based products – even though smoking it was probably his favorite hobby – and it’s a further move towards the Disneyfication of all matters Marley,” said Chris Salewicz, the author of Bob Marley: The Untold Story.
“Why I reluctantly think it’s a good idea is because it’s a further strike against the “war on drugs”. Ganja skin-cream marks a sideways step towards the legalization of marijuana and in turn towards the legalization of all drugs, something that should have occurred long ago. It’s also no surprise that this deal emanates from Washington state, where marijuana is now legal. I’m not saying that Marley was ever “unpopular” in Jamaica only that much of his music was tailored to suit a white rock audience, and became reggae for people who don’t really like reggae,” Salewicz added.
Marley Natural, which will be grown in Vancouver, is expected to go on sale in the U.S. next year in states where it is legalized.