In anticipation of legendary reggae star and ganja prophet Bob Marley’s 71st birthday, a new line of Bob Marley inspired cannabis strains is set to hit dispensary shelves today called Marley Natural. The strains have been developed and marketed by marijuana company Marley Natural, which is based in New York and which has been funded primarily by the Seattle-based Privateer Holdings.
The company has created four hybrid strains, each of which has been designed to give users a unique experience.
Marley Green was intended to be a good all-around bud, “combining the cerebral high of Sativa with the physical relaxation of Indica for a satisfying blend that is ideal for enjoying your smoking ritual,” the company’s website says.
Marley Gold is a sativa-dominant strain designed to give users an uplifting, creative, cerebral high.
The CBD-rich Marley Red focuses on drawing out the plant’s medicinal and anti-anxiety properties.
And finally, the indica-dominant Marley Black is for cannasseurs looking for a more intense full-body high.
In addition to the new strains, Marley Natural has also created a line of marijuana-infused body care products and smoking accessories.
“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,” Marley Natural spokesperson Zack Hutson said.
“So that’s what we’re hoping to do really with this brand—help people understand the herb the way Bob did.”
But not everyone sees the release of the new strains as an appropriate way to celebrate Bob Marley’s legacy.
Many have pointed out that in addition to being an avid—and probably the world’s most famous—advocate of cannabis, Marley was also a staunch anti-capitalist. This, some say, comes into conflict with the company’s attempts to make money on the new strains.
Mike Alleyne, a professor who has written extensively about reggae music in general, and Bob Marley in particular, told reporters that the commercial release of the new products might in some ways be a problematic venture.
“Given Marley’s anti-capitalist, anti-establishment identity, the idea of having a company that evokes the name of centuries-old pirates”—referring to Marley Natural’s partnership with Privateer Holdings—” the tradition of imperialist assault sends a lot of the wrong messages,” he told reporters.
“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.”
In addition to Alleyne, former Wailers band member Bunny Wailer has also voiced criticism of the new company.
“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,” he said.
With the release of the new strains, Bob Marley joins the ranks of other celebrities like Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, Freddie Gibbs, and other celebrities who have created their own strains of cannabis.