Cannabis, Celebrity & Culture

Arguably, the greatest lubricant for cannabis normalization hasn’t been enthusiasts, activists or lawmakers, but pop culture. Of course, culture alone hasn’t been enough to usher in legalization (if it had, it would’ve happened much sooner). But it’s fair to say that the soft (but undeniable) advocacy employed by screen actors, artists, musicians and others, as well as depictions in different kinds of media, have helped everyday people to see that the kind herb may not be so bad as Uncle Sam says it is, after all.

When superstar Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-winning “Same Trailer, Different Park” dropped in 2013, many in the country music world were scandalized by the then-24-year-old’s multiple references to smoking weed. She’s hardly the first in the genre to toke, as Willie Nelson has of course been loud and proud his entire career. But, based on optics alone—she’s a young white woman from Texas performing in a space closely associated with politically conservative Americans—her immediate differences from other prominent musicians who famously loved to toke up set her apart. 

Millions of fans, some of whom felt that the culture surrounding country music was a bit too uptight, instantly loved her for it, while still, others found reason to cast blame. “You’re so less attractive to me now,” one commenter wrote on a photo Musgraves posted on Instagram in 2019, which showed her exhaling smoke blissfully with a joint in hand. The singer clapped back instantly: “Oh, nooo! I only exist purely for your pleasure. What am I gonna do?” with a thinking emoji in tandem. #savage 

But weed hasn’t hurt Musgraves, who has 2.4 million Instagram followers. If anything, it’s only helped. She’s since racked up awards and made best-selling albums. She’s even selling branded rolling papers—appropriately named “Slow Burn” after one of her most famous songs—as well as a lighter and grinder. 

Louis Armstrong

Before and alongside these country music luminaries, many other musicians and celebrities helped paved the way simply by using. Jazz icons Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Duke Ellington all famously and openly lit up, despite being used as an example by Henry Anslinger, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who was the principal architect of the US prohibition during the draconian Reefer Madness era in this country. 

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind,” Anslinger said. “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music–jazz and swing–result from marijuana use.”

Jerry Garcia illustration by Robert Risko
Jerry Garcia

From there, Anslinger’s rhetoric and policies laid the groundwork for all-out criminalization and the eventual War on Drugs, the legacy of which still exists today, particularly in the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal in the US. In 1937, Congress passed his Marihuana Tax Act, effectively prohibiting cannabis on a federal level due to the heavy tax burden introduced.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which was ratified in 1970, made cannabis illegal for good. In between, a counter-culture movement sprung up in the 1960s, in which weed was arguably a central component. From that wellspring came cannabis-friendly icons including The Grateful Dead (led by Jerry Garcia), which was the band that became the official anthem-holder of white stoners everywhere. Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Carlos Santana, The Velvet Underground, Simon and Garfunkel, Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys are other notable acts that also openly smoked and whose legacies endure today—with cannabis one of the drugs of choice of that bygone era, there are also hundreds more examples of popular figures partaking and otherwise endorsing the coveted plant.

Bob Marley illustration by Robert Risko
Bob Marley

Cannabis becoming flat-out federally illegal after the CSA’s passage didn’t stop the train of pop culture cannabis consumption. If anything, it only made it more subversive and, therefore, cool. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong fame were a slapstick weed-soaked silver screen duo who came to prominence in the 1970s and are still beloved as original pioneers of today’s cannabis culture. Though Bob Marley and The Wailers started producing hits in the ’60s, it was in the ’70s when the reggae sensations rose to international prominence. Their religious beliefs through Rastafari, as well as their cannabis consumption, also took center stage in their public image. Peter Tosh was also Rastafarian and a famously-pot smoking reggae contemporary of Marley’s, but with a harder political edge. To this day, his 1976 anthem “Legalize It” is still a rallying cry for tokers all over the globe, even while marijuana continues to remain largely illegal.

In more recent history, the public face of cannabis has become more widespread and representative of different cultures, though the legacy born in the ’60s and ’70s endures, particularly with longtime jam bands Phish, Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band. We also see its impact via the spread of reggae culture into other island communities, especially Hawaii, and more cannabis-friendly communities such as those of underground (and now legal) cannabis cultivators in northern California.

Carlos Santana illustration by Robert Risko
Carlos Santana

Weed’s next and arguably greatest push into mainstream popular culture came with the rise of hip-hop, which started as a music genre born out of lower-class Black communities and crossed over to mainstream appeal during the late 1980s and especially the 1990s, bringing the plant with it. Some rappers and groups, such as Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Method Man, Redman and Dr. Dre, dedicated entire albums with chart-topping hits specifically to the plant. Snoop has since become a bonafide cannabis icon, even starting his own media publication, Merry Jane, while Cypress Hill’s B-Real heads up his own cannabis brand and dispensary chain, Dr. Greenthumbs, named after one of his most famous songs. His signature strains sold are different phenotypes of OG Kush, which was introduced to him in the ‘90s by famous grower JoshD, who bred the Florida-born strain to prominence after its arrival in California.

Rappers today have carried that legacy forward, including Wiz Khalifa with his Kush and OJ album (and now his own legal weed brand) and Berner, who has his own veritable worldwide legal weed empire. Jay-Z owns nationwide cannabis brands and raps often about selling weed—both legal and illegal—but is also rumored to not be super into smoking it himself. Kid Cudi, Curren$y, Drake, OutKast, The Game and 2-Chainz are other notable names who’ve melded their art with their favorite plant. 

Snoop Dogg illustration by Robert Risko
Snoop Dogg

The rise of hip-hop also coincided with the birth of the internet and the advent of music television, fomenting its place not just in cannabis culture, but also in popular culture, in general, and giving it greater reach than possibly the music of the 1960s in numbers over time. It also grew alongside the golden era of stoner movies, frequently with cameos from one of the aforementioned stars: How High stars both Method Man and Red Man and is considered canon among both rap and weed fans; so is Friday, written by Ice Cube and DJ Pooh, which stars Ice Cube and comedian Chris Tucker.

Half Baked is another quintessential cannabis-fueled movie and what birthed Dave Chappelle’s career (though I’d argue that his giving up weed for his girlfriend at the end is a genuine betrayal to stoners everywhere). Harold and Kumar go to White Castle sometimes gets cast aside as dumb but is brilliant in its subtle knowledge of deep stoner culture—any movie that so prominently features the dregs of the fast-food world, much beloved by those with the munchies, is obviously clued into the quirky loves of stoners countrywide. Dazed and Confused harkens back to the more innocent times of 1970s weed, while Super Troopers gave us the iconic line, “Littering and…littering and…littering and smoking the reefer.”

Seth Rogen illustration by Robert Risko
Seth Rogen

There are some drawbacks to weed’s popularity in pop culture. While saturation can lead to normalization and a reduction of stigma, it has also made cannabis a bit of a punchline. Stoner depictions in various media have also perpetuated stereotypes, notably Afroman’s 2000 hit “Because I Got High,” which runs through a litany of forgetful and absentminded foibles that the rapper attributed to smoking weed. The Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott movie Dude, Where’s My Car? basically gives away the plot without having to watch it, funny though it is, and it’s definitely not a positive portrayal of healthy or functional cannabis consumption. 

 More recently, a new guard of smoke-filled movie stars has taken the old guard’s place. Seth Rogen, who today owns the lauded and legal Houseplant cannabis brand, is considered a bonafide social and political advocate for cannabis legalization. His movies have also legitimately crossed over into weed culture, including the 2008 hit Pineapple Express, which birthed an actual cultivar that remains popular to this day. His social media presence, especially during the pandemic, shows Rogen making pottery and curating tasteful cannabis accessories, a glimpse into the life of a rich and successful pothead who also happens to have good taste. Functional stoners see themselves in him—as a wealthy celebrity, Rogen may occupy a different stratosphere of life than most can ever imagine, but he’s aspirational in all the right ways by a group typically denigrated and assumed to be lazy, forgetful and generally unintelligent.

Miley Cyrus illustration by Robert Risko
Miley Cyrus

These depictions are also almost entirely male-oriented, save for Musgraves, which is also beginning to change as wider acceptance of cannabis use courses through the US and women not only are consuming more than they had in the past, but also feel more comfortable doing so in public. Pop superstar Miley Cyrus has been an avid cannabis user and publicly (sometimes controversially) so ever since she graduated into adulthood from her kid-friendly Hannah Montana days; Rihanna is a veritable weed queen, who has talked about it often in interviews and has allowed herself to be frequently photographed while smoking. Lady Gaga has come out as a fan of the plant, and so has Megan Fox, Anna Faris, Bella Thorne, Kathy Bates, Tove Lo, Cameron Diaz and Charlize Theron, among many others. The list is admittedly smaller, but likely, as in real life, there are plenty more notable women in pop culture who like to smoke weed.

Whereas in the past, using cannabis was a more counterculture act, regardless of who in pop culture was consuming, there were visibility limitations owing to the lack of access we had to cultural figures compared with how much exposure they have today. I believe the internet helped bridge the gap between culture and popular consciousness for the final leg of cannabis prohibition, which we appear to be living in today. At a certain point, being bombarded with certain images and symbols over and over has a sanitizing effect, and how much more media we consume compared with people 30-40 years ago and beyond means that we’re becoming exposed to the regularity of cannabis consumption more than at any point in history.

Rihanna illustration by Robert Risko

So, what to make of all of this cannabis consumed by the famous and influential for the better part of a century? While it’s activists and the lawmakers they lobby who are, in the end, mainly responsible for the ongoing tide of legalization in this country, it’s the plant’s ironclad presence in popular culture that has helped grease the wheels all the way along with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Drawn To Him

Robert Risko, America’s top magazine illustrator, debuts on our pages.

When my team at a previous magazine heard I was leaving my post as editor in chief, they asked my dear friend and easily the most celebrated magazine illustrator in the US, Robert Risko, to create a portrait of me as a goodbye gift. When the large, framed work on white canvas was given to me, a rush of emotions washed over me. “Wow, even I have a Risko now,” I thought, feeling sheer gratitude at such a beautiful and thoughtful gesture.

Robert Risko illustration

Risko, who’s been the chief artist at Vanity Fair for precisely four decades and whose colorful, whimsical, instantly recognizable portraits helped elevate that magazine to colossal cultural relevance (along with photographer Annie Leibovitz), is as interesting personally as the famous subjects he expertly captures. To see a Risko illustration accompany a story in VF—and later The New Yorker, Time, Rolling Stone—is to signal to the reader that not only is this story worthy of attention, it’s also worthy of the “Risko treatment.” Has there ever been a bigger compliment to a magazine artist? Others certainly agreed. In 2017, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC held an exhibition of Risko’s iconic portraits he had completed for the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor since 2002.

When I asked Risko about possibly illustrating this pivotal feature in our “culture issue,” my friend didn’t hesitate. “Ohh, that sounds really interesting…” And just like that, Robert Risko joins the cannabis community. How cool is that? —Richard Pérez-Feria

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post Cannabis, Celebrity & Culture appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Pintó a Maradona y a Messi y Ahora ‘Bendice’ Nine Miles, la Tierra Sagrada de Bob Marley

Nota por Hernán Panessi publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

Síguenos en Instagram (@El.Planteo) y Twitter (@ElPlanteo).

Wah gwaan? La estampa de Bob Marley sonriendo ilustra pósters, camisetas, pieles y, ahora, también, las paredes de su mausoleo, en su Jamaica natal. Y el mural, hecho en un día y medio con un mix de spray y látex, fue creado por el artista argentino Maxi Bagnasco, referente absoluto del muralismo en América Latina.

Donde ocurra un acontecimiento global, allí habrá un argentino, está claro. Pero, ¿cómo llegó Bagnasco hasta Jamaica, cuna del reggae, la ganja y el movimiento rastafari? “Siempre pinto en Miami. Este año que pasó, fui y pinté un retrato de René Favaloro. Allá hay mucha gente que hace tours y hay uno que es un artista. A él lo contactaron de una organización que conoce a la familia Marley, que querían hacer un retrato de Joseph, el nieto de Bob Marley que había fallecido”, dice Bagnasco, en exclusiva para El Planteo.

Contenido relacionado: El Iván de Quilmes, el Tatuador Más Argentino de Todos

“Así llegué, por ese contacto en Miami, que le preguntaron por artistas que hagan retratos. Él le mostró a varios artistas de todo el mundo y los familiares de Bob quisieron que vaya yo”, se ensancha orgulloso.

El mural de Joseph Marley

La oportunidad de pintar a Bob

En principio, Bagnasco hizo un mural del nieto de Bob Marley, a partir de una imagen que le compartió su familia. Fue un trabajo de seis días y, como le quedaban dos en el país, el artista doméstico decidió aprovechar el revoleo y pintar al mismísimo Marley.

Contenido relacionado: Conocé a Marijuanaman, el Superhéroe Cannábico de Ziggy Marley: Hablamos con Uno de sus Autores

“Estaba ahí, paré donde están los restos de Bob Marley, de su madre y de su nieto, en Reggae Land, Nine Mile. No es un hotel pero me quedé a dormir ahí. Qué honor estar durmiendo ahí. Obviamente, el desafío era estar haciendo un homenaje a alguien que falleció. Todos los Marleys son importantes para la cultura del reggae y para todos los rastafaris”, cuenta Bagnasco.

Nine Mile es un distrito emplazado en la parroquia de Saint Ann, a unas pocas millas al sur de Brown’s Town, un lugar donde está toda la cultura rastafari y su gente.

Maxi Bagnasco bob marley mural messi maradona
El mural de Bob Marley de Maxi Bagnasco

El aval del ambiente del reggae

Lamentablemente, durante los seis días que Bagnasco estuvo en Jamaica para pintar el mural, no pudo cruzarse en persona con la familia de Bob Marley. No obstante, le llegaron mensajes de su hijo en los que aseguraba estar “muy impresionado y agradecido con su trabajo”.

Contenido relacionado: De Prisión Abandonada a Cultivo de Marihuana: Damian Marley nos Cuenta su Historia

Mucha gente del reggae y mucha gente de allá conocida en el ambiente me hicieron llegar sus comentarios. Después, cuando me fui, a los días, la familia me dijo que le gustó mucho mi trabajo. Haber estado ahí, vivir en un lugar diferente, caminar y que la gente me valore, fue muy lindo. Algo totalmente distinto”.

Por eso, quiso dejar su huella y brindarles el mejor homenaje posible. Incluso, arreglándose con los materiales que consiguió por allá. “Como argentino, nos podemos arreglar con lo que venga: eso aprendí acá en el país. Me arreglé con lo que pude en Reggae Land, el lugar más sagrado de Jamaica”.

Homenajes de verdad

Bagnasco siempre escuchó reggae, así que este hipervínculo con el “Tuff Gong” le fue natural: Los Cafres, Los Pericos, Nonpalidece, Cultura Profética, Gondwana de Chile, Natty Roots de Brasil. “Y, bueno, Bob Marley. He pasado muchas vacaciones escuchándolo”.

Contenido relacionado: El día que Maradona Apoyó la Legalización de la Marihuana

Por lo demás, la actividad artística de Bagnasco viene en alza, ya que pintó a leyendas criollas como Diego Armando Maradona, Leo Messi, Mercedes Sosa y Astor Piazzolla, entre otros.

“Pinté a cantidad de figuras y otras tantas me faltan. Me parece súper importante que, cada vez que pinto a alguien, la gente lo siente como un homenaje de verdad”, asegura. “Voy a seguir pintando argentinos”, cierra. Walk good.

Más contenido de El Planteo:

The post Pintó a Maradona y a Messi y Ahora ‘Bendice’ Nine Miles, la Tierra Sagrada de Bob Marley appeared first on High Times.

Damian Marley Feeds You the Medicine of Music

Damian Marley continues to honor the Marley legacy in his own way as an artist carving his own path. The Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter and producer remains at the forefront of the reggae genre for his music, collaborations, producing of other artists, and his very own reggae cruise.

The Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise set sail last month for its seventh installment, the first annual voyage since the cruise was put on hiatus due to the worldwide COVID pandemic.

In advance of the ship’s departure, we were able to catch up with Marley via Zoom and learn more about his music creation process, his relationship with cannabis—cannabis consumption, cannabis activism, and cannabis reform—and the inspiration behind creating a reggae festival on water.

High Times: You’ve been performing music for most of your life. Do you remember the starting point?

Damian Marley: We started off doing performances in my aunt’s living room until my aunt decided to take us on the road. We then started doing things like Mother’s Day shows and Valentine’s Day shows, little girls’ birthday parties—things like that in Jamaica.

High Times: Did you ever imagine you’d one day go from that to headlining your own festival cruise?

Damian Marley: We weren’t the first people to come up with a musical cruise but there had never really been a successful reggae cruise. It’s something my manager, Dan [Dalton], brought to my attention—that there’ve been other genres doing cruises. The whole culture of a cruise—going to an island, being out in the sun, out on the sea and all that stuff—lends itself very well to the culture of reggae music. However, there was hesitation if our fanbase was financially able to go on a cruise, and of course we ended up proving that we do have the market to be able to do that.

The idea of the Caribbean sea, sun, and weather, going to Jamaica, the music, and all these things—it goes hand in hand [with reggae] and it’s kind of surprising that it actually hadn’t been done before. But here we are, the ones who actually executed the idea.

High Times: In terms of ideas, what role does cannabis play in your creative process?

Damian Marley: Cannabis plays a really big role in my life in general. I’m burning a spliff as I’m speaking to you now, so what role does it not play? It’s kind of hard to say. It’s a part of my day-to-day regimen. Most of the things I’m doing are under the influence of cannabis [laughs].

High Times: Is there a specific method of consumption or specific strain you prefer?

Damian Marley: Ocean Grown OG Kush tends to be one of my favorites, but we still enjoy other strains, too. Variety is the spice of life in that way.

I also usually smoke, I don’t really do many edibles or that kind of stuff. It’s mostly smoking, although I would encourage people not to smoke and instead consume edibles because smoking in itself is not a healthy habit—but that’s just what I do.

High Times: Do you feel that the act of consumption opens you up to other ways of thinking or other spiritual activity?

Damian Marley: It puts you in a space where you have time for your own thoughts, where you can hear your thoughts a bit more clearly. It helps you focus less on the busyness around you and you get more exclusive to your own thoughts.

High Times: As in putting your own thoughts under your own sort of microscope?

Damian Marley: More so that you get to hear your own voice more clearly by silencing some of the other voices around you.

High Times: So it’s more that it helps you block out distractions and other external factors and tune you in to you.

Damian Marley: Especially when I was younger. Now, of course, [smoking] is part of my life so I don’t have the kind of jolt and effect from when you just start smoking. But after high school when I was smoking and reading the bible and learning about my faith as a Rastafari, you really get to meditate and zone in on your own voice and certain topics in a different way.

High Times: From a music standpoint, what can we be on the lookout for from you in the coming months?

Damian Marley: I’m about to start making some music for myself right now, so it’s a bit difficult to say specifically what to look for, but you can look for some music from me this year. I would think we’ll probably start with a few singles leading up into an album. We also recently released an album I produced for an artist by the name of Kabaka Pyramid, where myself and the team produced the entire album, and we’re really proud of that.

High Times: Is it the same creative input that you provide when producing a record for someone else that you provide for yourself?

Damian Marley: We give one-hundred percent when making music, regardless of what we’re doing, you know what I mean?

Photo by Tizzy Tokyo

High Times: Whether you’re creating music for yourself or someone else, is there something you hope the audience takes from it?

Damian Marley: Yeah, something that they need. So it’s not for me to say what they must take, but we want them to take something that they need, something that will benefit their life in some kind of way.

Something I always find very interesting and such a joy is in how people interpret songs and what they take from them. Sometimes with certain songs and certain lyrics, someone might find a completely different meaning from what I was trying to say in the conversation of the lyrics. They interpreted it completely differently, and that’s always very interesting to see. So, it’s not for me to say what people take away from it, but we want them to take something that brings substance to their life and somehow impacts their life in a positive way.

High Times: So you’re creating the substance from which other people can have an experience, but you’re not here to dictate what that experience is.

Damian Marley: We’re not telling you how to take the dosage, we’re just making the medicine.

High Times: In terms of the medicine, what types of cannabis endeavors are you currently involved in?

Damian Marley: Right now, the brand that we’re working on and supporting is called Evidence, but the overall brand that I and Dan are a part of is called Ocean Grown. The product that Ocean Grown is now presenting is called Evidence, which is obviously herb that you buy and smoke. But the great thing about Evidence is the work that we’re doing to help people who have been locked up for herb become free.

With Evidence, we’re also partnered with the organization Last Prisoner Project (LPP), and the whole aim of this organization is to help people who are locked up for marijuana and help them gain their freedom now that the cannabis laws have changed. So we have a greater purpose other than trying to just sell herb and make money. We want to do that—don’t get me wrong—but we’re doing some great work within the community through this Evidence brand and through LPP and through what the whole movement stands for. We’re encouraging people to check out that part to fully understand what the movement is all about, while also enjoying the cannabis.

High Times: So the brand has that social impact element, which is really important.

Damian Marley: Yeah, really important. Cannabis users tend to be good people who want to do good, so it goes hand in hand.  

Follow @damianmarley and check out for tickets, tour dates, and the latest on the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise.

The post Damian Marley Feeds You the Medicine of Music appeared first on High Times.

The Marleys: The First Family of Cannabis

On my first day as a sophomore at Tulane University—on a sweltering late August New Orleans afternoon—I was excited to see the dorm I’d call home for my second year of college and, more importantly, who my roommate would be.

I smelled him before I saw him.

As I made my way down the long corridor at Monroe Residence Hall—I’ve been assigned a coveted “suite” that shared a common living room with another duo—I was simultaneously hit with the double-whammy of Bob Marley’s infectious anthem, “One Love,” blaring at the highest decibels literally rattling the walls around me mixed with the unmistakable skunky aroma of the legendary Rastafarian’s favorite herb. When I realized both were originating from my yet-to-be-seen room, I approached the door with trepidation.

Standing in the middle of the surprisingly spacious room was my new roommate—let’s call him Zac—looking exactly like a cross between Spicoli (Sean Penn’s burnout character from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) and an older teen cast member from Stranger Things. Zac was clearly excited to see me, instantly shaking my hand rigorously even while he was offering me a hit off his joint in the same breath. Here was the quintessential disheveled, shaggy, blond stoner dude grinning like an idiot while I’m standing there in my expensive linen khaki pants and Gucci loafers. I knew, of course, I was in serious trouble. I wasn’t wrong.

It didn’t take long for me to establish that, yes, Zac was in fact the school’s unofficial, but most in-demand, dope dealer, supplying my wealthier classmates all the weed (and most other mind-altering accouterments) money could buy. Since I was the Editor in Chief of the award-winning school newspaper, The Tulane Hullabaloo, I certainly couldn’t knowingly participate in the highly illegal practice emanating from my room. So, Zac and I set up a system: If he was transacting business at home—something I implored him not to do—he’d blast Marley’s “One Love” as an audio signal for me to stay away for a bit. Somehow, the system worked like a charm, but I transferred to a new dormitory and roommate the following year.

That wouldn’t be the last time Bob Marley would come to my rescue. I’ll revisit that in a bit.

For the uninitiated, Bob Marley is to reggae and cannabis what Michael Jordan is to basketball and what Aretha Franklin is to soul. Born in Nine Mile, Jamaica in 1945, Robert “Bob” Nesta Marley rose to become the world’s most famous Jamaican singer, musician and songwriter as he fused the genres of reggae, ska and rocksteady to create a distinctive, unmistakable sound. The world of music was forever changed due to this Rastafari’s colossal, undeniable, contributions.

Importantly, Marley was also a lifelong pioneer in the fight to legalize marijuana (ganja), and in 1976, because of his outspoken support of myriad democratic social reforms, the legend survived an assassination attempt in his home. But in a cruel fate soon thereafter, Marley was diagnosed with melanoma and succumbed to cancer at the age of 36, dying in Miami in 1981. At the state funeral the Caribbean nation held for Marley—he was buried with his guitar near his birthplace in Nine Mile—Prime Minister Edward Seaga beautifully eulogized Jamaica’s favorite son: “Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He’s part of the collective consciousness of this nation.”

Marley packed more humanity and action in his three-and-a-half-decades on the planet than any musician had previously in the 20th century. But what Bob Marley left in his wake is nothing less than an undeniable plethora of talented, dedicated Marleys—punctuated by his sons Ziggy, Rohan, Julian and Damian, grandson Nico and dozens of other standout offspring who proudly bear his surname.

To be a direct descendant of Bob Marley is to bear the dual responsibility of legacy and excellence in whatever your individual pursuit may be. The Marley name is thus forever enshrined alongside other globally familial dynasties: Rockefellers, Mings, Habsburgs. Make no mistake, Bob Marley and his legion of worthy scions are here to stay.

As one of (at least) 11 of Bob Marley’s children, oldest son Ziggy, most closely took after his father’s musical legacy becoming a formidable reggae artist in his own right, going on to win five Grammy awards. His worldwide fame, like his dad’s, was rooted in the music though. In 2011, Ziggy also released an acclaimed comic book, appropriately titled “Marijuanaman.”

Rohan Marley
A reflective Rohan Marley.

Ziggy’s brother, Rohan, took a more circuitous route to enhancing the Marley dynasty. A musician to be sure, Rohan also excelled as a former collegiate and professional football player for the University of Miami (“The U”) and later the Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Rough Riders, and an entrepreneur. Rohan co-founded the Tuff Gong clothing line and in 2009, launched the mega successful Marley Coffee business in Jamaica’s Blue Mountains. Rohan took the coffee brand public just two years later in 2011 under the name Jammin Java Corp (JAMN) on Nasdaq.

With the distinction of arguably being the most successful business-minded Marley (he’s at the very least the most marketing savvy), Rohan also heads the Marley’s charitable organization, 1Love, and launched his first cannabis brand, Lion Order, this year on April 20 (4/20). Rohan, unsurprisingly, has five independently successful children with his ex-wife, the multiple Grammy-winning singer and actress, Lauryn Hill.

When I meet up with Rohan Marley, a happy, optimistic man at first glance, I ask him straight out: “So, you finally made your way to cannabis with Lion Order, eh?”

“Yeah, my friend, Lion Order’s my thing for sure,” he says. “The cannabis space was beautiful for me because, coming from the coffee world, I was very interested in the notes of the cannabis flower itself as well as the psychoactive side of it, too. But the profile, the terpenes, the taste of cannabis is hugely important to me and to all of us at Lion Order. We focus on the terpenes and the high THC content creating a strong, beautiful balance. Lion Order, I believe, is worthy of the Marley name.”

But why wait so long to enter the de facto family business?

Smiling, Rohan says, “One of the biggest reasons why I took my time to launch Lion Order was that we could properly represent the Rastafari movement in the cannabis space at a high level, so that’s precisely what we did. I’m proud of that. Lion Order is also a way for us to unite as a people, all different ethnicities, different religions, different everything and have a conversation about love, life and what really matters.”

Lion Order—along with partner and cultivator Heavyweight Heads—launched the cannabis and CBD lifestyle brand in Michigan. But like most things in Rohan’s orbit, this, too, has a football connection as former Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Terry James joined the brand’s roster as vice president. But football is only the beginning of the connection between Rohan and his eldest son, Nico, founder of CBD brand, Lion X CBD.

At this juncture, I’d like to point out that as I’m talking to Rohan and then a little later to Nico, more and more connections to my own life experiences keep cropping up, none bigger than Rohan graduating from Palmetto High School in Miami (I graduated from Palmetto’s rival, Southwest Miami High) and playing for my hometown school, University of Miami Hurricanes alongside legends Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and, yes, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. For his part, Nico became an All-American linebacker at Tulane University, the very same school I graduated from as well. It would seem that I was fated to bond with this particular Marley father/son tandem, a very pleasant task indeed.

Nico Marley stands in a cultivation field.

After his college playing days, Nico signed with the NFL’s Washington football team (now called Commanders) before leaving the game altogether a few years later. Taking advantage of his degree he earned at Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business, Nico joined his dad Rohan at Marley Coffee where he soon realized he wanted to strike out on his own. Nico launched Lion X CBD in April 2020 just as the COVID-19 global pandemic was roaring. “I started the company at the start of the pandemic because I concluded that I needed to give back something positive, especially during a time like that,” Nico says. “We were planning on doing an Earth Day launch event in New York City to showcase Lion X, but since we couldn’t, we thought we’d still launch on the website so at the very least people were able to purchase quality CBD during that very difficult time.”

I find Nico, unsurprisingly, a lot like his dad in temperament, with a relaxed approach to speaking and what I can only describe as the Marley ethos: “cool vibes only.” When did Nico realize having his last name was a little different than his friends’ surnames?

“Oh wow,” Nico says, smiling like a Cheshire cat. “I was just a kid; I went to my Uncle Ziggy’s concert, and it was like a whole thing with so many people in the crowd. My cousins and I went down by the stage, hanging out with all the people. We were having so much fun and everyone was going crazy for my uncle and his music. So, yeah, I think that was the first time I noticed that being a Marley was special.”

After a failed attempt at opening a Marley Coffee branded shop in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, Nico says he wanted his next venture to connect two of his and the family’s great loves: football and herb; thus, Lion X was born.

“I wanted to merge my two lives, right?” he says. “But since herb was so heavily regulated in Miami, I said, all right, maybe not herb, maybe it’s CBD. So, right then and there, I called my cousin on my mother’s side, Gaetan Khawly, and I told him about the idea for Lion X and we became 50/50 partners right on the spot.” Nico and Khawly are both listed as CEO & Founder of Lion X.

Asking Nico what separates his company from the scores of CBD brands—particularly celebrity-backed enterprises—all seeming to tout the same benefits, he eagerly cuts me off, almost as if he was anticipating the question. “At Lion X, restorative wellness is both a philosophy for living your best life as well as a guiding principle that encompasses healing the body, mind and soul from within,” he says. “We also have something the other CBD brands don’t. We’re the only brand that can weave together top-quality products, athleticism, entrepreneurship and my family’s heritage—creating a singular, modern wellness brand made for athletes, fitness enthusiasts and everyone in between.” As far as elevator pitches go, that’s a pretty darn good one.

Julian Marley, Rohan’s brother (Nico’s uncle), after a lifetime as a world-renowned reggae artist and devoted Rastafarian, also owns a popular cannabis and CBD brand, JuJu Royal, furthering the Marley family legacy as the clear first family of weed. By a mile.

And yet another Marley son, this time Bob’s youngest, Damian, has also got himself quite the lucrative cannabis business. Damian, an acclaimed DJ, singer and rapper globally known by his nickname, “Junior Gong,” recently partnered with his longtime manager and friend, Dan Dalton, to become co-founders of the California cannabis brand, Evidence.

There are a lot of Marleys doing cool things in the still red-hot business that is ganja, and Bob’s sons have certainly taken that to heart and activated respective, effective plans.

When I circle back and ask Rohan about his dad’s legacy once again—or, rather, what perhaps everyone gets wrong about the icon, Bob Marley, Rohan looks at me and says, markedly quieter, “Richard, my dad was a human being like everybody else. He wasn’t a god; he was a man, and he was my dad.”

That man, that dad, lived an electrifying, albeit tragically brief life so few of us could even imagine. And how proud he must be that Rohan, Nico, Julian and all the other family members are legitimately thriving in fields as diverse as medicine and music, and all are proudly carrying the name Marley into the future.

I promised to tell you about the second time Bob Marley came to my rescue. This time it was in New York’s luxe enclave, the Hamptons, at the single most pretentious dinner party I may have ever attended. At the height of the meal, the imperious host declared that the guest who came up with the best answer, would win $100 from each guest as a prize. The question was: “What was the simplest song that made the biggest impact?”

As the other guests worked their way down every Motown hit record—I almost went with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” but realized there was nothing simple about that song—instead I harkened back to my sophomore year at Tulane and how my burnout roommate always warned me about his transactions by blasting Marley’s irresistible and unifying global anthem, “One Love,” so that’s the song I chose. The moment I said it—and the audible gasp my answer provoked—I knew I had won. (The Beatles’ “Let It Be” came a close second).

So, I have to thank Bob Marley, once again, this time for helping me win $2200 that evening, some of which I kinda-sorta paid it forward in his honor, by lending my best friend $300 for some “really good shit,” as he put it. He thanks Bob, too.

This story was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.

The post The Marleys: The First Family of Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.

‘Hempire’ Developers Announce New Mobile Game, ‘Bob Marley World Tour’

Vancouver-based LBC Studios, developer of one of the leading mobile cannabis games “Hempire” and “Tasty Buds,” announced on Sept. 14 that it’s working on a new mobile rhythm game called “Bob Marley World Tour” which is currently slated to release in November 2022. Unlike its other games, Bob Marley World Tour is a rhythm game and won’t feature any cannabis themes.

“We know fans of Bob Marley and our family will be [as] excited about ‘Bob Marley World Tour’ as we are. It has been joyful to work with LBC on a game that helps bring this music to the world through such an interactive experience,” Ziggy Marley said in a press release. “It has always been our goal to provide fans with unique opportunities to enjoy the family’s music, and we are glad that this upcoming title will further that mission through an entirely new platform.”

LBC Studios was founded in 2017 by Solon Bucholtz and Dennis Molloy. In 2017, “Hempire” released as a game that spoke to the cannabis community. “We looked at the game space and realized that no one had really appealed to that culture and group of people in a meaningful and authentic way,” Bucholtz told in an interview.

Bob Marley World Tour” will feature original songs and remixes of Marley’s most famous tunes. Eventually, the studio plans to expand these offerings to include other musicians whose work was inspired by Marley’s career. “For us it was a natural fit,” said Bucholtz. “Music fits well with our audience, Bob Marley is a natural fit, and our team was just genuinely excited to be the stewards of such a popular and well-respected brand and bringing that to the mobile game space.”

The decision to make a game based on Bob Marley served to be the perfect intersection between iconic Marley music and a game everyone can play. “When we decided to develop the Marley game, we wanted to make sure we were building a game not just for Marley fans and music fans, but really gamers alike,” Bucholtz added. “And we wanted to make sure it was accessible to as many as possible. One of the challenges we faced with ‘Hempire’ is there are countries where we aren’t able to distribute that game, strictly based on the content.”

When developing “Hempire,” Bucholtz and the team encountered many unique challenges to create a cannabis game that didn’t violate platform requirements and policies. “Early on, we really wanted to make sure that how we present cannabis isn’t about selling cannabis. It isn’t about distribution or criminality. Instead it’s about the positive aspects of cannabis, how it supports communities,” Bucholtz said. “If you look at ‘Hempire,’ it’s really a story-driven joint that focuses on a town that’s down on its economic luck, uses legal cannabis to build up the town, build relationships with people who are dealing with PTSD, and really just an underlying positive message driven by the community.”

The result of being careful and conscious, Bucholtz said Hempire was the first cannabis-themed game to be accepted by Google AdWords.

With “Bob Marley World Tour,” Bucholtz and his team wanted to target a wider audience. “Marley is a global brand and it’s had a global impact around the world. When we started thinking about the design of the game, we wanted it to be rated for a younger audience,” Bucholtz explained. “We wanted it to be accessible globally. And we wanted it to be a product the platforms could get behind. Whether you’re a kid who’s new to Marley’s music or an adult who’s grown up with Bob’s music and his philanthropy and beliefs, you could share that experience together. So the Marley game itself has no cannabis in it.”

Although the community has long supported Marley as a cannabis icon, Bucholtz explained the reasoning behind choosing to make the game without any cannabis references. “It’s a question we’ve discussed with the family and internally as well,” Bucholtz said. “Although there are some aspects of cannabis that obviously were very important to Bob and his beliefs, I don’t think that’s the driving force. And we put enough emphasis on many of the other areas Bob is remembered for today and has a meaningful impact on today in the game that that omission isn’t a negative result in the overall experience or the authenticity we’re delivering.”

Bucholtz added that Marley’s strong beliefs of philanthropy and unity are also a big part of the legacy he’s left behind, and that’s the game’s focus.

Bucholtz ended the interview by sharing that although his grandfather and father were involved in real estate, he decided to try his hand at game development by founding LBC Studios with limited experience. “We don’t have a very long time on this earth to make a meaningful impact and I wanted to get involved in something where I could touch a lot more lives, something where I could show up every day and be passionate about it,” Bucholtz concluded. “I wanted to make a meaningful impact on generations of people.”

LBC Studios will be working with the Marley family’s partnered charity, One Tree Planted, which aims to plant trees across the world. According to the House of Marley website, it has helped plant 340,400 trees with the organization since 2017. An exact release date for “Bob Marley World Tour” has not yet been announced, but you can keep an eye on LBC Studios’ page here for future updates.

The post ‘Hempire’ Developers Announce New Mobile Game, ‘Bob Marley World Tour’ appeared first on High Times.

Higher Profile: Julian Marley

Julian Marley’s legendary father, Bob Marley, is credited to bringing the Rastafarian culture and music to the world through lyrics instilled with political and theological messaging, based on ancient Christian texts. Once his music gained international recognition his raw interviews became teaching moments of Rastafari livity, teaching the principles of a balanced lifestyle, steeped in love, giving thanks daily, as a practice.

“I wake up every day and give thanks and praise before everything else,” he shared. “It’s a meditation. Sometimes I put on some good Ethiopian music—some orthodox music, and start the day out with spirituality before we take time for physicality.”

Physicality defined in the modern world, Julian explained, is the world of the iPhone, social media—Instagram, namely. If it’s a business call that’s different, but starting the day with a spiritual life, giving thanks, is part of livity.

“It’s good to make it a practice, then it becomes a habit, then it becomes you,” he added. “Everywhere we go, we give thanks for the day—a few moments of thanksgiving everyday. If we are driving, we say ‘yes, God, yes you see everything, but it’s nice to thank him. Then we play in the park, chat with friends, see the children.”

Raised in London, Livity in Jamaica

Born in British Jamaica, Julian was raised in London by his mother, Lucy Pounder, but learned of the Rasta beliefs during visits with his extended family in Jamaica.

“When I read the Bible as a kid I thought the history was only happening in England—it was the language, written in old English—and in my mind it took me far away from my roots in Jamaica. But when I went back to visit my brothers, I saw that everyone looked like me, and heard the old teachings, and realized the origins of the ancient beliefs.”

Like their father, Julian said the Rasta man has a message to spread to the four corners of the earth—one aim, one unity, one love—with justice and equality in the mix.

“They are gone now, but the children learned all the teachings from our father’s mentors in Jamaica,” Julian shared. “We learned the old ways, and cannabis is keeping in meditation.”

His brother, Damien, sings of cannabis as a medication, but Julian speaks of it as part of a practice, a meditation.

Courtesy of Joey Clay Photography

“Medicating is always there,” he said. “Medication, meditation—it’s the same. When you smoke, you go into yourself,” he explained. “Depends on the reason, but the herb doesn‘t tell you what to do; it opens you to see what your consciousness is doing. The plant doesn’t make you bad or good, that’s the person. When you drink alcohol, we do know that it can make someone bad—if you drink too much, you can get bad.”

The herb, he said, is transparent and an enhancer, uplifting the partaker to be open to be themselves, to learn something—to be lighter, not dark or bad.

“But, what are you learning?” he asked. “Something good or something bad? That’s each individual’s decision.” Everyone wants to blame the plant when things go wrong, but you can’t stop a plant that was here before man walked on the earth—a plant that was in the Garden of Eden. A plant that was part of the Holy Anointing Oil of Christ. Why would you fight something like that?”

“God said, ‘See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit, they shall be yours for food.’ -Genesis 1.29

Canadian author, Chris Bennett, penned in his compilation of references to cannabis in the Bible and ancient times, Cannabis and the Soma Solution, that cannabis in Holy Anointing Oil was brought to the Baby Jesus as a medicinal offering, not unlike the Frankincense and Myrrh, openly said to be gifted—not merely fragrant incense for the vulnerable infant cradled in a bed of straw.

“Maybe they want to fight it because when it opens our minds it keeps us away from the good healing, the good teachings of love and reasoning, of community and unity—what everyone is supposed to have, brotherly love. They paint a bad picture of the herb to distract us from the good picture, the best picture of ourselves.”

Music as Practice

Growing up in London, Julian said he was surrounded by music.

“Both my grannies sing. My father’s mother, my mother’s mother sang in church,” he said. “Walking through London there was music everywhere—to the train, the bus. You go under the subway and there were skillful musicians playing. I was always drawn to the music before I could play a note.”

His mother wasn’t musical, but she loved music, with her vinyls making their way into his own record collection.

“At one point, she stopped playing the records and I started playing the  music,” he said.

His latest single, The Tide is High, is a cover from a classic Reggae song by Jamaican born singer/songwriter, John Holt. Many musicians have covered the song over the years, most notably Debbie Harry’s version for the band Blondie. Surprisingly, Harry’s chart topping pop hit in 1980 is very similar to the slower version recorded by Holt in 1967.

According to, Rastafarian music evolved after the 1970s and into the 80s to have a faster tempo, and subsequently, more danceable.

“The world was a different place before the 1980s, the vibe was slower and different—we could really use some of that back” Julian waxed poetic. “The tempo changed, hip-hop changed, the tempo got faster. What we see is the world running on this fast-track, not saying, hey, slow down and use every moment to do something positive with your life. Do something constructive—take the time to do it right. If your life is fast, fast, fast, it might leave a hole for something bad to happen. Make sure you build on solid ground, and build it slow and properly.”

One People, One Love, Many Languages

Julian expounds on he and his siblings taking the Rasta Livity message of positivity out into the world for the greater good, to enlighten the masses on the positive side of life, getting the “good message” into the world.

“Negative doesn’t like positive, but positivity is in the minority,” he continued. “The Devil is still here on earth, but if there’s one soul out there doing good work, Jah will use that soul as an instrument to get the good message out into the world—like our father used his celebrity in interviews. Jah used him as an instrument to enlighten people, and now he uses us.”

Jah and God are interchangeable, and Julian says languages are a barrier to all mankind being in unity.

“It doesn’t matter who you are talking to—Allah, Jah, God, the Creator,” he added. “Every name is different, but it’s all the same, the same teachings— one love, one people, not divided. We learn other languages and learn to say the same things, but the name of the Creator is always different. Man is one, but language divides. Inside the heart we are the same.”

Live right, live humbly, listen to that ancient mystic in your ear. These are the teachings of Rastafarian culture.

“With the teachings, with the daily meditations with the herb, you can learn to know yourself,” he concluded. “By the cosmic love of Jah anything can happen. We can be that one good soul who helps other souls to see the light of love and the light of God.”

The post Higher Profile: Julian Marley appeared first on High Times.

Rohan Marley to Launch Lion Order on 4/20

First announced on “Twosday” February 22, or 2.22.22, Rohan Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley, plans to launch Lion Order, a cannabis and CBD lifestyle brand that truly reflects the values of both the Marley family and cultivator Heavyweight Heads. Marley plans to launch the brand, fittingly, on April 20.

Marley played professional football in the Canadian Football League with the Ottawa Rough Riders, and currently performs as a musician periodically with his siblings. He shares his father’s affinity for the herb, both for spiritual and medical reasons. The Lion of Judah is a prominent symbol in the Rastafari faith—representing Emperor Haile Selassie I and as a symbol of strength.

“Lion Order represents the Lion of Judah,” Marley said. “The way of man, Strength, Power, Courage, Determination. Doing things the right way. Moving as a King or Queen, moving with dignity, self-respect and wanting to be a part of a movement and a lifestyle. It’s a way of life and how one should live.”

Marley continued, “Lion Order is a way for us to unite as a people, whether it’s with cannabis, water, psilocybin, coffee or food. We want to get together around a table, all different ethnicities, different religions, nations and have a real talk about life and love.” 

Lion Order’s alignment and synchronization with 2.22.22 is special to Marley as 2 is a special number to him personally. The number 2 was his football number when he played for the University of Miami alongside Warren Sapp, Ray Lewis, and The Rock. That’s also where the concept of Lion Order began, the company explains in a press release.

Partnering with Michigan’s Cannabis Cup award-winning cultivator Heavyweight Heads, the brand will launch on April 20 with its own Lion Order IP strains. Heavyweight Head’s strain Orangutan, for instance, won 1st Place for Best Recreational Sativa Flower at the High Times’ Michigan 2021 Cannabis Cup People’s Choice Edition.  

Marley will announce his complete product rollout in Michigan and other territories where Lion Order product will be sold this coming 4/20, the universal cannabis holiday of April 20.

Lion Order CEO Chloe Villano said, “Lion Order is a movement of the highest order. It represents this industry and all that it encompasses with integrity, authenticity, equality, and justice. This is something that means so much to me being an activist who worked on the ground floor of legalization, and one of the pioneers of the industry. When I connected with Rohan, we realized that we had the same values and the synergy was there to build a monumental movement, brand, and company; we knew that this would be bigger than we ever dreamed of. With the honorable legacy that Rohan Marley carries and the consciousness of the team and partners, this brand is a true staple of leadership, encompassing luxury culture and standards the industry has not yet seen. We aim to create one of the largest, most successful roots culture luxury brands in cannabis while creating a movement of truth that changes the world!”

Lion Order represents Marley’s Ital-approved, holistic way of nutrition, meditating, and training on the beach. Following his career in professional football, Marley founded several successful family brands such as Marley Coffee and House of Marley headphones and speakers. 

Countries such as Italy have observed cannabis for Rastafarian religious beliefs. In the U.S., the use of cannabis in observance of Rastafari sparked a religious debate in states like California and Wisconsin.

Lion Order will be a complete lifestyle brand of cannabis, hemp-derived CBD, clothing, and luxury accessories to enhance the ritual of cannabis consumption. Mike James, another former athlete and one of Lion Order’s company owners, played running back in the NFL for the Detroit Lions from 2016 to 2018.

“Lion Order is something that Rohan has been practicing his whole life and it has been passed down for generations. Now he’s giving our team and the world the opportunity to join this movement. We all want to be a part of something special in our lives. Why not that be liberation in the structure of LION ORDER. As humans, we have a duty to one another to do our best to preserve human life. The mission is to not only do that but to help liberate those lives into freedom,” James said.

The post Rohan Marley to Launch Lion Order on 4/20 appeared first on High Times.

Cannabis Around the World: the History and Culture of Ganja in Jamaica

Jamaica is known internationally for its associations with cannabis. Yet, most people still have a muddled view of the history and culture of ganja in Jamaica. Stumbling into sensationalism and exoticization when talking about cannabis cultures worldwide is easy. Hopefully, these factoids about the cannabis culture of Jamaica will help you have a clearer view […]

The post Cannabis Around the World: the History and Culture of Ganja in Jamaica appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

A Tribute to Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry

On Sunday, August 29, at the age of 85, famed Jamaican producer and artist Lee “Scratch” Perry passed away. Over the years, several High Times writers have caught up with the mysterious musician, providing a glimpse into his life.

Perry adopted many nicknames over the course of his career: the “Upsetter,” the “Super-Ape,” “Inspector Gadget,” “Pipecock Jackson” and the “Firmament Computer.” But he was mostly called “Scratch” from one of his early songs, “Chicken Scratch.” He loved and experimented with just about every new genre of music, and is credited with being a pioneer in dub.

Perry produced the best work to ever come out of Jamaica. He produced The Wailers’ albums Soul Rebels and Soul Revolution—the first time non-Jamaicans heard Bob Marley sing, also producing some of Jamaica’s most iconic artists.

Bob’s son Ziggy Marley provided a statement that was widely shared on various platforms. “It was always a unique experience being around him,” Marley told Rolling Stone. “He opened minds with his creativity and his personality. Some people thought it was madness, but I recognized it was genius, uniqueness, courage and freedom. He made no apology for being himself and you had to accept that and figure out the deeper meanings to his words and character.”

Lee “Scratch” Perry’s Legacy

Perry built his name working various jobs at Coxsone Dodd’s famed Studio One in Kingston, Jamaica. The sounds of Jamaica were constantly evolving from ska to rocksteady and reggae. Perry created the studio band the Upsetters in 1968. In 1973, Perry built his own Black Ark recording studio in his backyard. There, Perry produced for Jamaica’s best artists including Junior Byles, Junior Murvin, the Heptones, the Congos and Bob Marley.

“Scratch was a massive personality, he was a creator, a pioneer, a wizard, a shaman, a magician, a philosopher, a musical scientist,” Marley continued. “A man like him will never come this way again,” Marley said. “One of a kind. He will be missed a lot by those of us who had the time to experience him not just through music but through knowing him personally.”

In the late ’70s, Perry heard punk rock for the first time, and played an album of The Clash to Bob Marley. Perry loved their covers of Junior Murvin’s “Police and Thieves” and The Maytals’ “Pressure Drop,” so much so that he produced The Clash song “Complete Control.” It led Bob Marley to write “Punky Reggae Party”—his tribute to the punk rock bands they met.

In 1998, Perry appeared on Hello Nasty album by Beastie Boys.

Also in 1998, High Times’ own Doug Wendt interviewed Perry, confronting him about whether his band the Upsetters would ever get back together. High Times’ Chris Simunek interviewed him 10 years later.

In 2003, Perry won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with the album Jamaican E.T. and the next year, Rolling Stone ranked Perry number 100 on its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Perry on Cannabis

Perry has always been there when friends like Bob Marley or Paul McCartney needed a puff.

In Tokyo, Japan in 1980, Paul McCartney was busted for a whopping 7.7 ounces of pot—facing serious consequences in a country that doesn’t tolerate drug use. Perry had previously worked with McCartney and his wife in 1977, when he produced Linda’s covers of “Sugartime” and “Mister Sandman” at Perry’s Black Ark studio in Jamaica.

When Perry heard that McCartney was arrested, he sprung into action, penning a letter to Tokyo’s Minister of Justice, demanding his release. “I LEE PIPECOCK JACKSON PERRY would LOVE to express my concern over your consideration of one quarter kilo to be an excessive amount of herbs in the case as it pertains to master PAUL McCARTNEY,” Perry wrote. “…I find the herbal powers of marijuana in its widely recognized abilities to relax, calm, and generate positive feeling a must.” 

High Times has followed Perry for decades, and even managed to interview him at the precise moment when he quit smoking weed in his 70s: “Since 25, I have been smoking pot, and it overload the brain” Perry told High Times in 2008. Marijuana, ganja, Lamb’s Bread—I don’t smoke anymore.” Perry even backtracked later on, suggesting that too much weed is a bad thing in a Fader interview.

Few people adored ganja as much as Perry did for over 50 years of near-continual use, and it shows in his work and legacy.

The post A Tribute to Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry appeared first on High Times.