Wed | Sep 19, 2018

'Got to have Kaya now' - Marley son advocates with Bob's slang

Published:Sunday | March 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Rohan Marley of Marley Coffee (left) and Balram Vaswani, chairman of Kaya Inc, cutting the ribbon to the Kaya Café at the grand opening, recently.

In the 40th year since the release of Bob Marley's romantic album Kaya, the legend's slang for cannabis has become a branding tool in the ongoing campaign to legalise the herb. Many of the sons of the global reggae icon have put action to Tuff Gong's long-standing cannabis advocacy.

Stephen, Ziggy, Ky-mani, Julian, and Damian Marley will headline the second annual, all-ages Kaya Fest, named after the 1978 album. The music festival relocated from Miami, Florida, to San Bernardino, California, where the festival can benefit from the state's legalisation of cannabis for recreational use. The two-day concert will also feature guests Toots and the Maytals, Lauryn Hill, Cypress Hill, and Tom Morello.

"He would be at the forefront of this movement for people to know the herb. It's in his nature, where he come from," Stephen said in an interview with Rollingstone Magazine. In 2016, the family launched Marley Natural, a name brand for various strains of cannabis, pipes, hempseed body wash, and other products.

"You see marijuana becoming legal. You see his legacy has taken on more importance because of what he has been telling people for years. 'Hey, I told you so!' So the legacy has grown another step," Damian added.

 

BOLD MOVES

 

Also making bold moves is the entrepreneurial son, Rohan Marley. As of last weekend, Ocho Rios, St Ann, became home to Kaya Farms, the first legal medical cannabis dispensary in the English-speaking Caribbean. Kaya Farms and sister companies Kaya Herbhouse, Kaya Spa, Kaya CafÈ, and Kaya Tours plan to offer a variety of services for Jamaicans and tourists, including the sale of marijuana for medicinal and therapeutic purposes.

Participating in the grand opening event last weekend was Balram Vaswani, chairman and chief ganja officer at Kaya Farms and his associate Rohan, chairman of Marley Coffee.

"It's great when what is naturally produced here, the herb, can become a business and drive the economy. So it's never too late, and that's why it's happening right now," Rohan said during the launch. He accompanied Vaswari in the official ribbon-cutting ritual.

"For me, the journey has been extremely long. This is an economic change for Jamaica. With this product, we have a chance for it to be a product of Jamaica, made in Jamaica, where we can control the start to finish. This could be an export. This can bring in revenue and wealth creation and help small farmers all the way up to large companies - not only farmers but auxiliary businesses, carpenters, plumbers, bartenders, etc," Vaswani said.

Guests are welcome to tour Kaya Farms and its processing facility and kick back inside Kaya CafÈ, which exclusively carries Marley Coffee.

Guests to Kaya Farms are able to purchase various strains available and legally purchase medicinal marijuana, once proper documentation as required by the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has been provided. The regulations outlined by the CLA allow for the sale and use of marijuana in limited quantities and for specific reasons, namely, in accordance with the written recommendation or prescription of a registered medical practitioner, for consumption on the premises, or for the provision of therapeutic services utilising ganja.

Kaya Farms' grand opening closed with a concert featuring Ky-mani Marley, Keznamdi, Jah 9, and Toots and the Maytals.