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Bunny Wailer calls out Marley estate on recent cannabis deal

Published:Wednesday | December 3, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Bunny Wailer - File
(From left): Bunny Livingston, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh when they just formed The Wailin' Wailers.

Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer

"The Marley Natural deal must be publicly opposed," says veteran entertainer Bunny Wailer. In light of the recent deal between the Marley estate and international cannabis company Privateer Holdings, Wailer, who has long been an advocate for the legalisation of marijuana, believes that the venture should not be allowed to gain success.

Following a recent Sunday Gleaner article which highlighted the pros and cons of the deal, Wailer has come out in full opposition of the move by the Marley family. Having been intimately involved with the move to alter the island's laws surrounding the issue, Wailer says the new deal not only has serious implications for future efforts by the country to capitalise on the economic benefits surrounding the legalisation of marijuana, but also highlights the selfishness of the Marley estate. Giving his view on the widely popular argument that Bob Marley doesn't deserve to be the face of the world's first global cannabis brand, Wailer agreed.

Spotlight on Selfishness

"The people are correct," he said, pointing out that the issue of a global cannabis brand should incorporate The Wailers on a whole.

"The ganja issue can only be dealt with as The Wailers collectively, and what the Marley estate has done since Robert Marley's death is to wipe away the collective works, catalogue, image and rights of The Wailers from public existence." He expressed that that kind of set-up has only allowed one member of the Wailers to benefit from the group's legacy.

"The Marley Natural brand deal has now spotlighted their (the Marley family) selfish behaviour."

He also agreed with those who expressed that himself and the late Peter Tosh are probably more deserving of the 'honour' to be the face of the cannabis brand rather than Marley, based on their involvement with the issue.

"Certainly, the fans would say that Peter Tosh was the international face and myself the local face (of marijuana). Both of us have been brutalised and imprisoned for ganja," he explained. "I served 14 months in prison and Peter was subject to several brutalising episodes. In terms of advocacy for the change of laws, only myself and Peter have put our money, time and effort here. Since Robert's death, the estate has not done or supported any such effort."

Wailer also expressed his dissatisfaction at the slow pace the Government was moving in regards to the decriminalisation of marijuana, saying their failure to capitalise on its use has opened the doors for yet another international company to market a product with which the world associates Jamaica.

"Jamaica is still moving too slow and has been focused on the low hanging fruit," he said, pointing out that the cultural and competitive advantage that Jamaica has with marijuana must now be used to not only oppose the deal set up by the Seattle-based company, but should also send a message to other international companies.

"Only a Jamaican company incorporating local stakeholders, the Rastafarian community, local ganja farmers, medical scientists and investors should be allowed to market Brand Jamaica Ganja first-hand, every other company outside of Jamaica should follow suit."