Irony can take many forms and in this particular scenario, the irony will end up benefitting many. Bob Marley’s youngest son, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, is about to create another multi-million-dollar business model and it has nothing to do with his talents as a reggae artist. The focus is on cannabis which may not be a complete surprise as the Marley name is synonymous with weed. Damian Marley has actually purchased a prison which used to house people who had been convicted of marijuana offenses. This same prison will now be a center for producing the plant. How’s that for irony?
Damian Marley called a press conference to state that he was in partnership with Ocean Grown Extracts. Together, their plan is to turn the former 77,000 square foot prison, Claremont County Custody Center in Coalinga, CA, into a cannabis grow that will cultivate medical cannabis for state dispensaries. Marley stated, “Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up. If this [venture] helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.” The success of this venture has already been proven to the town of Coalinga. The purchase of the facility for $4.1 million instantly relieved the $3.3 million debt that had previously held the area in an economic death grip. The move will also employ over 100 people in the area and will generate an estimated $1 million in tax revenue for Coalinga.
Damian Marley has been around cannabis throughout his life as a practicing Rastafarian along with many of his friends, relatives and business associates, so his advocacy is a natural progression. Marley has also seen many sacrifice their freedom for their involvement with the plant. This includes the recent hospitalization of Jawara McIntosh, son of legendary reggae musician Peter Tosh. Jawara was arrested for marijuana possession and housed at the Bergen County Jail where six months into his year sentence, he was in an altercation with another inmate that left him in a coma.
Marley’s Coalinga location has already been producing oil extracts and had its first crop in January of 2017. Along with this venture, he is reaching beyond just the California market. Marley also partnered with Colorado-based TruCannabis to launch a 3,000-square foot dispensary in downtown Denver across from Mile High Stadium, named aptly Stony Hill after his recent tour. Damian has also ventured into a separate 30,00 square-foot grow facility in Denver. Marley will of course be cross promoting his cannabis ventures into his music. His new strain, Speak Life, also happens to be the name of a track on the new Stony Hill CD.
When asked if he thought the legalization of cannabis would be possible in his lifetime, Marley stated…”I didn’t know it would happen this way. This was definitely something we were working towards for a long time, before I was even born. There was Peter Tosh’s ‘Legalize It’ and songs like that — this is something our culture has been working towards. I was optimistic that it would one day be legal — and now it is here.”
By Tracy Jerome Chisley (@PoeticPanther)
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