Iconic Jamaican reggae singer and songwriter Bob Marley will be the face of the "first global brand of marijuana," the late musician's family announced on Tuesday.
For fans, Marley was more than just a successful artist. He was the voice of peace, love and justice. Known for being a free-spirited pot smoker, Marely's name and image will be at the forefront of "a premium cannabis rooted in life and legacy" of the well-loved singer, the Marley family and a Seattle-based private equity firm announced on Today.
Bringing cannabis to the corporate level, Marley Natural products will feature "heirloom Jamaican cannabis," pot-infused creams and accessories like vaporizers. Cannabis will be sold as "loose packed" buds or oils. Smokers won't be able to purchase pre-rolled joints.
"This is what the end of prohibition looks like," said Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, which owns Marley Natural, which will be in New York City. "Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We're going to help him finish it.... We're committed to social change, environmental sustainability and building a professional, responsible and legal cannabis industry."
While many marijuana products still have silly, childlike names, Marley Natural products will be professionally marketed by the same agency that branded Starbucks Coffee and New Balance.
This is not the first product line that the musician's name is attached to. The Marley family has brands of coffee and audio equipment that hold the Marley name, as well as other smoking paraphernalia like rolling papers. Although Marley's image has been linked to other marijuana products, this is the first time his family has granted permission to use the legend for a brand of marijuana.
The company released videos introducing the products. The first video highlights Marley's advocacy of the herb to increase creativity and focus on self-reflection. "When you smoke the herb it reveals you to yourself," the ad says.
With Marley's feel-good music in the background and shades of green shown throughout the video, the ad pitches marijuana as a natural product targeted for those looking to explore the complexity of their mind and ideas.
While the product may look like paradise to pot smokers, non-cannabis users may think the products are just a corporate ploy to make money off the Marley name.
Another video features Marley singing the iconic lyrics, "Don't worry about a thing. Everything little thing is going to be alright."
This video uses marijuana as the reason why Marley was able to explore his creativity and bring powerful messages in his music about social justice, love and peace.
"It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation.... As Daddy would say, 'Make way for the positive day,'" said daughter Cedella Marley. "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations," added son Rohan Marley.
Recent polls found that 51 percent of Americans support the legalization of marijuana compared to 12 percent in 1969.