Damian Marley, Bob Marley’s youngest son, is putting his love for the cannabis to good use. The dancehall artist has teamed up with Ocean Grown Extracts to flip an abandoned California prison into a pot farm.
The prison, Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga, Calif., is 77,000 square foot, which is enough space to cultivate legal medical marijuana and sell them to state dispensaries. “Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up,” Marley told Billboard, referring to the irony of converting a prison that once housed non-violent drug offenders into a pot farm. “If this [venture] helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”
According to Marley’s manager, Dan Dalton, the project will also generate 100 jobs and generate million dollars in annual tax revenues for Coalinga. So it’s a win-win for everyone.
“Cannabis is something that’s around Damian every day with friends, family and with his Rastafarian faith,” said Dalton. “We’ve watched people who have sacrificed their lives for it. That injustice has motivated us to be advocates as well as knowing that there are healing properties in cannabis.”
Marley also released his new cannabis strain called Speak Life, which he created with Ocean Grown. The strain is based on the company’s lauded OG Kush but altered genetically with the help of a Ph.D trained chemist. “The OG has always been my favorite,” he said.
Marley has another cannabis dispensary in Denver called Stony Hill. The 38-year-old dancehall artist titled his upcoming album after the facility, which he plans to release in January on Republic Records.
Overall, Damian Marley is very optimistic that marijuana will become legal in all 50 states.
“This was definitely something we were working towards for a long time, before I was even born,” he said. “There was Peter Tosh’s ‘Legalize It’ and songs like that — this is something our culture has been working towards. I was optimistic that it would one day be legal — and now it is here.”