By Hayden Wright
Bob Marley’s youngest son Damian has partnered with Ocean Grow Extracts to convert a defunct California prison into a pot farm. The 77,000 square foot Claremont Custody Center will produce medical marijuana for distribution to dispensaries. Marley noted that the transformation of a former prison levies a kind of poetic justice against America’s so-called War on Drugs.
“Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up,” said Marley in a prepared statement. “If this [venture] helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”
Marley’s venture also marks an economic turnaround for the town of Coalinga, which cleared its $3.3 million civic debt upon receipt of Ocean Grow’s $4.1 million investment. The super-sized grow house will also create about 100 jobs in the area.
California’s Proposition 64 could also increase demand for Marley and Ocean Grow’s product. Current polling in the state indicates that voters will likely legalize recreational use of marijuana in November.
As a member of reggae’s first family, Marley says he has turned down opportunities to superficially license marijuana strains, growers, and distributors in the past. With his new prison venture, Damian and his team have taken a hands-on role in every stage of product and business development.
“This was definitely something we were working towards for a long time, before I was even born,” he said. “There was Peter Tosh’s ‘Legalize It’ and songs like that — this is something our culture has been working towards. I was optimistic that it would one day be legal — and now it is here.”