The sun is shining on marijuana businesses around the United States as more states continue to legalize medical and recreational use of cannabis, creating a lucrative market. But until recently, most businesses have been operating on a relatively small scale. Now, investors who crave high-end corporate distribution will no longer be waiting in vain.
Bob Marley’s family announced on Tuesday that it is putting the iconic musician’s name on a corporate cannabis brand--Marley Natural. It joins a handful of other brands that have made Bob Marley one of the richest dead celebrities on the planet.
“Marley Natural is born of Bob Marley’s deep respect for the power of nature to heal and inspire us,” the brand’s website reads. “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.”
The Marley family told multiple news outlets that the initiative honors their father’s memory and emphasize that he would be proud to be a part of this movement.
“My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb,” Cedella Marley, Bob’s daughter, said in the company press 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.”
Starting in late 2015, the company will sell "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains" along with marijuana-infused products and accessories such as vaporizers.
Beyond the spiritual aspects, the Marley family’s entry could be a harbinger of a more sophisticated American pot industry. Dozens of states have already allowed the sale and use of medical marijuana. And Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia have made recreational use legal. In Colorado, marijuana sales last year were worth $386 million in total. And experts estimate that, as more states legalize it, the U.S. cannabis market could be worth tens of billions within a decade.
“The question we’ve been asking ourselves for four and a half years is: What does the first global brand look like in this industry?” Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Marley Natural parent company Privateer Holdings told the Financial Times. “If you were to look throughout history for the one person most associated with this product, it would be Bob Marley. He has a global reach.”
Since his death in 1981, Marley has remained an icon, selling 75 million albums in the past two decades. He was among Forbes’ top ten highest-earning dead celebrities last year, earning $20 million, thanks to a “diversified range of ventures” that include the Marley Beverage Company, House of Marley, which makes audio gear, and Marley Apparel.