The family of the reggae icon, famed for his use of ‘the herb’, has teamed up with private equity firm to launch a cannabis brand.
The world’s most famous reggae singer is on the verge of becoming the Marlboro Man of Marijuana: The Bob Marley estate has licensed the Legend singer’s name and likeness to create a special blend of herb dubbed Marley Natural.
Reggae legend Bob Marley’s name is being used to market an international cannabis brand after a tie-up between the singer’s family and US private equity group Privateer Holdings.
Marley’s widow Rita Marley and children Cedella and Rohan have teamed up with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group specializing in the legal marijuana market, to exclusively mass-produce those “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains” that Marley himself smoked to make the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer the face of the herb revolution. Privateer also owns Tilray, a 60,000-square-foot property on Vancouver Island, British Columbia that ranks as the world’s largest marijuana grow farm.
The product will be sold as “Marley Natural” in a deal which Privateer claims will “honour the life and legacy” of the Jamaican behind hits including I Shot the Sheriff and No Woman, No Cry. It will also tap into the Jamaican’s “belief in the benefits of cannabis”.
The products are due to come on to the market in 2015 in areas where cannabis use has been legalised.
“Marley Natural is born of Bob Marley’s deep respect for the power of nature to heal and inspire us,” a statement on the company’s website says.
“True to his ideals, we will cultivate fine cannabis, blend infused topicals, and craft accessories that celebrate life, awaken well-being and nurture a positive connection with the world.”
Rohan Marley, the son of the singer who referred to cannabis as “the herb”, said:
“We are joining with Privateer Holdings because they understand and respect our father’s legacy.”
Bob Marley saw cannabis as “something spiritual”, according to his daughter.
Marley’s daughter Cedella also gave her blessing to the launch.
“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” she said. “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 added that the new product would help promote the “conversation about cannabis” and help “end the social harms caused by [its] prohibition”.
As well as cannabis itself, the company will also offer cannabis and hemp infused products such as sun creams and lotions.
Privateer, which bills itself as the world’s first private-equity firm to invest exclusively in legal cannabis, said it had been working with the Marley family since 2013 to bring the product to market.
“Marley Natural is a partnership between two cannabis pioneers,” said Brendan Kennedy, chief executive of Privateer.
“The Marley family has been an admired voice in the cannabis movement for over 50 years and Privateer is the leader in building professional, mainstream cannabis brands. We’ve learned a lot over the past year about Bob’s views towards cannabis and how he viewed the herb differently.”
This is not the first time the Marley family have teamed up with big business to utilise the name of the singer who died in 1981.
Hilco Brands formed a joint venture with the family in 2008 to promote products including Marley’s Mellow Mood Beverages and the House of Marley headphones and audio.