Bob Marley launches first global cannabis brand

MarleyNatural.com announced on the Today show, becoming the first celebrity branded cannabis. Product to come in late 2015.

MarleyNatural.com - first celebrity branded marijuana

MarleyNatural.com arrives November 18th, 2014

Bob Marley-endorsed Marley Natural becomes the first global cannabis brand. What does this mean for the industry? And which celebs will be next?

Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, because marijuana just hit the mainstream. Marley Natural, a Bob Marley brand of cannabis, launched today to become the first global cannabis brand. You can watch the Today show’s exclusive announcement here.

The company expects its products to hit the market in late 2015. Marley Natural will sell a variety of heirloom cannabis strains, including “some of Bob’s Jamaican favorites,” according to the website, along with cannabis- and hemp-infused lotions and balms, and accessories. Exactly where the company will be able to sell its goods is still a mystery.

The company was formed by the Marley family estate, so Bob’s music and likeness is all over the branding. The family partnered with Privateer Holdings, which owns marijuana directory Leafly and other marijuana-related businesses. According to the “Today” show, investors have raised more than $50 million so far.

Is this industry changing?

This is a huge deal. Not only does it grant even greater legitimacy to the industry, it also pushes forward legal reform. The company says it’s planning to lobby to change regulations and laws in the U.S., and its high profile – and big dollars – will surely help the effort. So will the fact that reform is already underway. Alaska, Oregon, and D.C.  recently joined Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana use. Marley Natural is surely confident that full repeal of cannabis prohibition is coming. And not just in the U.S., but around the world. After all, Bob Marley is a global brand.

But in the short term there’s much for Marley Natural to deal with. The company owns one of the world’s largest legal marijuana grows, located on Vancouver Island, B.C., so production is covered. Distribution and retail sales are another matter, and that’s far from settled. That marijuana is still illegal according to U.S. federal law is just one of many major issues. But Marley Natural hasn’t said much about this yet.

What other celebrities will jump on board?

With a global icon like Marley now on board, other high-profile celebrity brands are sure to follow. What about Snoop Dogg? Willie Nelson? Woody Harrelson? Dick Cheney? Many entertainers and celebrities already market their own brands of alcohol, so why not cannabis? Those watching and waiting from the sidelines for someone else to make the first move into cannabis need wait no longer.

This announcement raises even more questions about the future of the industry. What will the rise of Big Pot mean for the industry? How soon until big pharma, tobacco, and alcohol go all in? Perhaps they too will follow Bob Marley’s lead.

In the meantime, as they prepare for sales and product in late 2015, Marley Natural will be doing what any cannabusiness should be doing: marketing, lots of marketing. Whether you’re a small start-up or a global brand, there’s much you can do while waiting for your cannabis to hit the shelves.

It’s a new day for the industry. And make no mistake: this announcement is as much about challenging prohibition globally as it is about launching a new brand. More than 30 years after his death, Marley may prove to be the driving force for widespread cannabis legalization. He would surely approve.

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