As the legal cannabis retail business gains momentum again in the United States, one of the its best known users, singer Bob Marley, has had a store opened in his name selling a range of medicinal products derived from what the star often referred to ‘the herb’.
The Marley Natural Dispensary is a cannabis retailer—technically a licensed medical outlet—that has just launched at The Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road in Kingston, Jamaica. This was the site of the former home and recording studio of the reggae legend who died in 1981. The launch comes as a restaurant unit is also about to open at the airport serving Montego Bay on the island.
The concept is a collaboration between The Bob Marley Group of Companies, run by the Marley family, and Seattle-based Docklight Brands, a company focused on cannabinoid products. The design concept was developed by London-based retail specialist The Design Solution and Jamaica-based architect Christopher Whyms-Stone, the founder of Cornerstone Design.
A Marley affiliate, One Draw Holdings, was established in 2018 by Bob Marley’s son Stephen, a musician and eight-time Grammy Award winner. The limited company is the exclusive operator of Marley Natural cannabis retail locations and the distributor of Marley Natural cannabis products in Jamaica.
Stephen Marley commented: “I think my father would be pleased to see this herb house opening at the museum. When I think of how far the world has progressed surrounding attitudes toward cannabis and to finally recognize its many positive qualities—this is exactly what my father and the Rastafarian community has been saying for over 40 years. It’s right that we do this for him and his legacy.”
Rastafarians had a reverence for cannabis, and smoking ganga was a daily, spiritual ritual for Bob Marley. The singer once said: “When you smoke ‘the herb’ it reveals you to yourself.”
The new dispensary is the first physical retail space in Jamaica for the Marley Natural portfolio of legal cannabis products, but more are expected. Docklight was founded by Privateer Holdings, the first private equity firm to invest exclusively in the emerging legal cannabis industry.
The Seattle company said: “We are bringing Bob Marley’s belief in the positive potential of the herb to consumers worldwide through anchor brands Marley Natural and Marley CBD, inspired by Bob’s spirit, ideals and deep-rooted respect for nature.”
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) products include flower, pre-rolls, smoking accessories and edibles, while CBD (cannabinoid) products span beverages, topicals and confections. Several of these products are currently available at certain locations in the United States including California, Oklahoma and other states according to Docklight.
Legal cannabis industry analyst, Brightfield Group says that the U.S. market is estimated to reach close to $32 billion in annual sales by the end of this year, and top $50 billion by 2028.
Back in Kingston, the aesthetics and ambience of the Marley Natural Dispensary are underpinned by Marley’s love of the nature that surrounded his home at 56 Hope Road. It is filled with lush green planters and ‘living walls’, and a range of locally sourced natural woods and finishes, have been used. The vibe is contemporary and relaxed, in line with Marley’s lifestyle, despite the urban setting in Jamaica’s capital city.
As well as retail sales, the development includes a smoking lounge for museum visitors, with wooden tables and seating surrounded by walls covered in colorful vinyl record artwork created by local artisans, to reflect Jamaica’s most famous musician.
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