The Problem with Bob Marley Being a Brand of Marijuana

Bob would certainly appreciate the fact that we’re moving towards a world with legal weed. However, as this story in the Sunday Toronto Star points out, not everyone is happy with the idea of Bob becoming a marijuana mogul.

Bob Marley’s compelling features — his aquiline nose, soft brown eyes, slightly sallow cheeks and trademark dreadlocks — have long been used as a commercial tool, often in ways that the late King of Reggae might not have appreciated.

The most visible of the products he’s been inadvertently marketing since his death in 1981 are the hundreds of different Marley T-shirts worn by devoted fans all over the world.

But his image also appears on, among other things (and this is going to take a while): postage stamps, belts, tank tops, hats, shoes, wallets, postcards, bumper stickers, wall hangings, posters, hoodies, tracksuits, drinking glasses, calendars, jigsaw puzzles, hand towels, blankets, bicycle shirts, iPhone cases, London buses, headphones, audio accessories, coffee, cosmetic bags, necklaces, shorts, incense packages, keychains, beach towels, dog tags, car decals, cigarette cases, flags, sarongs, bottle openers, tattoos, backpacks, baseball caps, tote bags, wristbands, lamps, kitchen aprons, guitar picks, face stickers, baby and toddler clothing, purses, cigarette wrapping papers, lighters and sweaters.

There’s a Bob Marley restaurant at the Universal Orlando theme park in Florida and a Hotel Bob Marley in the remote Nepalese village of Muktinath.

Now, Marley’s globally recognized image is being harnessed to tout something he fervently believed in and used himself: marijuana. But whether it’s been done in a way the world’s most famous consumer of cannabis would have been happy with is open to conjecture.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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