A New York marijuana startup company has launched a line of Bob Marley weed strains and smoking accessories, which have gone on sale in California starting today.
However, the company, Marley Natural, have come under fire for profiting off of Jamaican culture and being insensitive to the country’s history.
Mike Alleyne, author of an encyclopedia on reggae, said that by making profit they have pretty much shat on Marley’s political morals. He added:
Given Marley’s anti-capitalist, anti-establishment identity, the idea of having a company that evokes the name of centuries-old pirates, and a very negative tradition of imperialist assault sends a lot of the wrong messages.
I’m not sure if anyone involved in the whole process is thinking about it, but it’s not a good conceptual foundation for this enterprise.
Bob’s band members are not too happy about the whole thing either. Bunny Wailer, former member of The Wailers, said:
Only a Jamaican company incorporating local stakeholders, the Rastafarian community, local ganja farmers, medical scientists and investors should be allowed to market Brand Jamaica ganja first-hand.
Makes sense really — I mean if Bob Marley was alive and well today, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t put his name to some hipster startup business.
Having said that, Marley Natural did buy the rights to the name fair and square after signing a deal with the Marley family and their ethos behind it has sort of good intentions. Spokesman for the company Zack Hutson said:
We’re not only natural in how we source our products and how they’re made; it’s important for us to demonstrate to people that the herb can be a natural part of life, which was the way Bob viewed it.
Regardless of criticism, the launch has gone ahead, which begs the question – is it any good? If you’re going to bring out strands of Bob Marley weed, surely it’s got to be the absolute dog’s bollocks. Also I wonder if it shits on Snoop Dogg’s brand?