“Marlboro Man of Marijuana” Would Be 70 Today
The world’s most loved reggae singer would have been 70 today. Bob Marley was much more than a humble, wise and infinitely talented artist. He brought hope to the downtrodden, the weak and the oppressed. Driven by his devotion and passion for Rastafarianism he inspired the globe to adopt the philosophy of One Love. He was also a major voice of legalization. And we’re pretty sure he’d be bummed to know he’s being touted as the future “Marlboro Man of Marijuana,” by Rolling Stone.
Last year the Bob Marley estate licensed Marley’s name and likeness to market marijuana called Marley Natural. And the media was all over it, including Rolling Stone who dubbed Marley the “Marlboro Man of Marijuana” in their coverage, which is ridiculous. Not only did the Marlboro Man push a harmful and toxic product that killed people, but like all Rastafarians Marley didn’t even smoke marijuana. Sure he sang, “herb is the healing of a nation” and “when you smoke the herb, it reveals you to yourself,” but like the guy who taught him how to play the guitar, his ex-band mate Peter Tosh famously said, “marijuana is a girl from Cuba. Ganja is a bird from Australia. I smoke herb.”
Rastas don’t use terms like marijuana or the devil’s harvest not only because guys like Harry J Anslinger used them to originally ban weed in the first place it’s because they assert their original African languages were ripped from them when they were taken into captivity as part of the slave trade. They feel that English is an imposed, abusive, colonial language. To get around it Rastas created a modified vocabulary and dialect known as “Iyaric“ to not only take back language but reject modern western society—often referred to as “Babylon.”
Today the rulers of Babylon have their eyes set on co-opting stoner culture, including icons like Bob Marley, to market and sell mass produced marijuana to a demographic they don’t understand. According to Rolling Stone Marley’s widow Rita Marley and children Cedella and Rohan partnered with Privateer Holdings, a private equity group specializing in the legal marijuana market, to exclusively mass-produce those “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains that Marley himself smoked.” However, the factory-farmed weed won’t come from sun-drenched fields in Jamaica. Nope it’ll come from Privateer’s 60,000-square-foot property on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
It’s cool that Marley’s family will get paid and all. But the best way to prevent corporate greed from transforming Bob Marley into the “Marlboro Man of Marijuana” is to grow your own—it’s also the best way to make sure corporations don’t co-opt stoner culture. And make sure to vote for marijuana legalization legislation that permits cultivation. If stoners don’t buy what corporate marijuana is selling they’ll be forced to move on and exploit someone else—hopefully Coldplay.
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