Bob Marley inspired Marley Natural opened in New York last week amid concerns that the branding of the product could have negative connotations in Jamaica.
The brand last week had its first product launch of a line of weed strains branded in the name of late reggae icon Bob Marley.
However, according to the author of ‘An Encyclopedia on Reggae’, Mike Alleyne, given Marley’s anti-capitalist, anti-establishment identity, having a company that evokes the name of centuries-old pirates, and a very negative tradition of imperialist assault, sends a lot of the wrong messages.
There is also concern that the brand, which was originally created in 2014, has appropriated Rastafarian culture without direct benefit to Jamaica.
Director of Jamaica’s Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Research Taskforce, Delano Seiveright, says Marley Natural could help raise broader awareness around cannabis reform, though many are still skeptical of its aims.
He says people remain concerned that it is exploitative in nature with the focus on making money, and not enough about helping the people of Jamaica and the Rastafari.