Jamaica music legend Bob Marley to live on through top-end marijuana brand

A portrait of reggae legend Bob Marley hangs next to a menu of marijuana products at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles. His family and a Seattle-based private equity firm on Nov 18, 2014, said they
A portrait of reggae legend Bob Marley hangs next to a menu of marijuana products at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles. His family and a Seattle-based private equity firm on Nov 18, 2014, said they are launching the first global cannabis brand with marijuana products sold under a name long tied to a plant he lovingly called "the herb". -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Thirty-three years after his untimely death, ganja-loving reggae icon Bob Marley is being remembered with an eponymous brand of top-end marijuana, his family said Tuesday.

Marley Natural is being pitched as "a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy" of one of Jamaica's greatest cultural exports, just as the United States slowly shifts towards legalized pot.

"It just seems natural that Daddy should be part of this conversation," said Cedella Marley, 47, the singer-songwriter's daughter.

"As Daddy would say, 'make way for the positive day'," she said in a video aired by NBC television, the first to report the development.

The marijuana brand is being developed with a Washington state based company and is intended to be sold in the US and possibly internationally starting next year.

Marley, who died of cancer in May 1981 at the age of 36, embraced marijuana as a key part of his Rastafari faith. He considered pot a sacrament and supported its legalization.

Recreational pot now is legal in the US states of Colorado and Washington.

Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia are poised to follow suit after referendums supported legalization earlier this month.

Several other states have decriminalised pot and authorized the sale of marijuana for prescribed medical purposes. Federal law, however, still bans the substance, putting it on a par with heroin and LSD.

Seattle-based Privateer Holdings is working with the Marley family on the pot venture and plans to market Marley Natural as loose-packed buds, oils or concentrate. Sales are expected to begin in late 2015.

"Bob Marley started to push for legalization more than 50 years ago. We're going to help him finish it," Privateer's chief executive officer Brendan Kennedy told NBC.

Marley's 42-year-old son Rohan Marley added: "Herb is for the healing of the nation; herb is for the meditation; herb is for the higher vibrations."