A funny thing happened this fall: In the span of a couple weeks, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley quickly became one of the most noteworthy artists working in and around legal cannabis.
You’ve heard about the many musicians already collecting their licensing paychecks from marijuana companies in California, Washington, Colorado and beyond. They have their own self-titled strains or band-branded edibles or even fully fleshed-out lines of flower, concentrates and edibles.
Now Bob Marley’s youngest son is making his mark on the cannabis industry, and he’s doing it with his own style.
It all started in Colorado in late-September. Marley’s tour was playing a date at the historic Fox Theatre in Boulder and he swooped down to Denver to christen a recreational cannabis shop that had been redesigned in Marley’s image. The shop — previously called Tru Cannabis Mile High, now known as Damian Marley’s Stony Hill — sits just across the parking lot from the home of the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.
Photo by Traci Lynn Markle
Then, two weeks after the Denver pot shop’s opening, Marley was in the unlikely central California town of Coalinga announcing his partnership with Ocean Grown Extracts (OGE), a business in the process of converting a 77,000-square-foot state prison into a marijuana cultivation and processing facility.
OGE had already been working with the city of Coalinga for six months on the controversial $4.1 million sale of the dormant prison, so Marley’s involvement in the project was just the cheeba cherry on top.
These two partnerships are representative of different levels of involvement for celebrities breaking into the cannabis industry.
Stony Hill Operations Director, Andrew Kaplan, said Marley doesn’t actually own any of the Denver dispensary that shares his name because of ownership restrictions written into Colorado’s marijuana regulations.
“It’s a marketing and branding partnership,” he said. “It’s the first fully recreational dispensary with a branded partnership like this.”
But Marley’s agreement with Ocean Grown Extracts in California is quite different: the artist actually owns a small amount of equity in the company in addition to a separate licensing piece.
But in either case, Marley said he is committed to promoting the healing power of cannabis.
“Many people have sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up,” he said. “If this helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspired people, it’s a success.”