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Blog : MJ latest: Marley Natural, Lame Duck Bong Hit

by Ed Zwirn on November 19th, 2014

Bob Marley smoking a jointCelebrity icons have long been used to peddle products. Sports heroes have promoted everything from bubble gum to breakfast cereal. Factor in Hollywood-type celebrities and this scope of this strategy widens to include personal care items and workout videos.
Now this week has come the first of what will probably be many celebrity role models used to promote the budding cannabis industry, which is estimated to generate at least $40 billion of revenues (medical, recreational and illegal) in the United States alone.

The family of the late Jamaican reggae artist, Bob Marley, has launched what they describe as the world's first global cannabis brand.

Marley Natural will start selling the good stuff in late 2015. The company will begin at that point in time to offer "heirloom cannabis strains inspired by those Bob Marley enjoyed." In addition, the company will sell cannabis-infused lotions, creams and various accessories, initially in the United States (where permitted) and eventually internationally.

Family members said the Reggae musician, who died in 1981, would have welcomed the move.

"My dad would be so happy to see people understanding the healing power of the herb," said Marley's daughter, Cedella Marley.

"My husband believed 'the herb' was a natural and positive part of life and he felt it was important to the world," said Rita Marley, Bob's widow. "He looked forward to this day."

The new brand is being developed with Privateer Holdings, a cannabis-centered private equity firm based in Washington state, one of the jurisdictions in which recreational use of the herb has been made legal, at least on a state or local level. Other Privateer companies include Tilray, a Canadian medical MJ supplier, and Arborman, a Washington state grower.

Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy said Marley, who embraced (and inhaled) MJ as part of his Rastafarian faith, was "someone who, in many ways, helped start the movement to end cannabis prohibition 50 years ago."

"It was just a natural fit between Bob Marley and this product," he said.

Lame Duck Bong Hit

Medical marijuana logoIt is one of the anomalies of the U.S. political setup that the period between the November Congressional election and the seating of the new Congress in January gives outgoing politicians a last chance to enact mischief (or do good, depending upon your slant).

This year the phenomenon of the so-called lame-duck session is particularly meaningful. Control of the Senate will pass to the Republicans in January, making the coming weeks a prime opportunity for members of Congress to pass last-chance legislation.

Another anomaly of the U.S. setup is the fractured (and fractious) way the legislature has of authorizing federal spending. At this point, the federal government is funded only through Dec. 11. Although the leadership of both sides of the political divide promise to avoid another government shutdown or debt default, prospects for solid government funding remain far from certain and (at the least) Congress has its work cut out for it.

The cannabis industry is among the many special interest groups looking to get its own goodies inserted into the budget bill. The National Cannabis Industry Association, an industry lobbyist, has put out a call to all of its members to support a rider that would bar federal funds to be used to prosecute medical marijuana patients and caregivers that are abiding by state law.

Just this past summer, the House of Representatives passed the so-called Rohrabacher-Farr amendment (named after its two sponsors, Republican and Democrat), which would have done just that if it had not gone on to subsequent defeat in the Senate. Significantly, the House vote indicated broad bipartisan support (a rarity these days), with 49 conservative Republicans helping the measure pass by a 219-189 margin.

Congress members Rohrabacher and Farr are currently circulating a letter in the House which will be delivered to budget negotiators, asking them to insert the Rohrabacher-Farr language into the final budget bill.

Of course, any effort that depends upon a quick Congressional vote remains a dubious proposition at best, given the current political climate. Bearing this in mind, federal workers (not to mention stock market investors) will be glad if any funding at all is approved to keep the government running beyond Dec. 11. A budget which helps the MJ industry snd MJ stocks may be too much to hope for, but it never hurts to get the old bong out of the closet. Just in case.




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