Reggae icon Bob Marley's family to lend name to cannabis brand

Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:29am EST
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By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The family of Reggae icon Bob Marley and a Seattle-based private equity firm on Tuesday said they are launching the first global cannabis brand with marijuana products sold under a name long tied to a plant he lovingly called "the herb".

The brand, dubbed Marley Natural, marks the first time the family's name would adorn packages of cannabis products ranging from strains similar to those Bob might have smoked in his homeland Jamaica to concentrates, oils and infused lotions sold in countries and U.S. states that have taken steps to decriminalize and legalize pot use and sales.

Marley, credited with helping to spread Jamaican music to a world-wide audience with hits like "No Woman, No Cry", and "I Shot the Sheriff," died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 36.

"He viewed the herb as something spiritual that could awaken our well-being, deepen our reflection, connect us to nature and liberate our creativity," Cedella Marley, Bob's daughter, said in a statement announcing the deal.

The agreement came weeks after two U.S. states voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use in systems that would usher in retail shops similar to those already operating in Colorado and Washington state.

The sale of cannabis remains illegal in much of the world, but countries mainly in Europe and the Americas have decrminalized it by varying degrees.

The Netherlands permits the sale of marijuana in "coffee shops", Israel and Canada and nearly half of U.S. states have allowed its medicinal use, and Uruguay has legalized its use.

In the United States, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. The Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration did not immediately respond to interview requests about the plans.   Continued...

A portrait of reggae legend Bob Marley hangs next to a menu of marijuana products at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014. REUTERS/David McNew