Marley Family Sells Bob’s Name to Corporate Cannabis


The Marley Naturals logo.

Members of the Marley family have granted a Seattle-based equity firm the rights to use Bob Marley’s name in conjunction with a line of cannabis, cannabis-infused products and smoking accessories dubbed Marley Naturals, they announced this week
In an interview on NBC TODAY, Bob’s wife Rita, his son Rohan and daughter Cedella say that the brand will represent true “heirloom Jamaican cannabis” in the American market and that they’ll bring a corporate sensibility to the world of legal pot.

“This is what the end of prohibition looks like,” Brendan Kennedy, the suit-wearing CEO of Privateer Holdings (the same company that owns Leafly), told NBC. “Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We’re going to help him finish it.”
For their part, the Marley family members don’t see it as selling out. They’ve ventured into things like coffee and headphones in recent years using Bob’s likeness and images – pot is just the natural next step.
“You can depend on Bob, too,” Rita Marley, Bob’s wife, told the morning news show. “He’s 100 percent behind what is happening. He’s happy because this is what we dreamed of.”
The moves are part of the Marley family’s struggle to gain control of the image of Bob, which has become an often-bootlegged image in part due to Jamaica’s lax copyright laws and enforcement of those that do exist.
Kennedy says that they plan to license the brand in medical and recreational cannabis markets sometime in late 2015. It’s too early to tell if this is going to be more hype than anything else – as has been the case with a lot of “national” marketing schemes for pot like pot vending machines.
But Kennedy, the slick businessman, says he wants to to be authentic and real.
“This brand can be done in a way that captures the message that can be found in Bob Marley’s music,” he said. “That’s the objective: to capture his essence.”