Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Prison To Become Marijuana Farm, Thanks To Damian Marley

Damian Marley, youngest son of Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley, is getting into the marijuana business in an unusual way: By going to prison.

The younger Marley, a reggae artist of his own right, who is also known as Jr. Gong and Gongzilla, is planning to convert a former 77,000-square-foot California State prison into a grow operation.

Marley, 38, recognizes the irony of the plan. In an interview with Billboard magazine, he said:

“Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up. If this (venture) helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”

According to the Billboard report, Marley is partnering with Ocean Grown Extracts to buy the Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga, Calif., for $4.1 million. The business plans on bringing 100 jobs and an estimated $1 million in annual tax revenues to Coalinga, a cash-strapped Central Valley town about 200 miles south of San Francisco and 200 miles north of Los Angeles.

California voters will be voting this November on Proposition 64, a measure that would legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Polling suggests that the measure will easily pass.

For Marley, this is a dream come true.

“I didn’t know it would happen this way. This was definitely something we were working towards for a long time, before I was even born. 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.”

 This is not the first time someone has attempted to convert a prison into a marijuana business. In 2014, Nicholas Erker proposed turning a medium-security prison in Brush, Colo., into a grow operation. But the Brush City Council voted 4-3 against a proposal to drop a recreational marijuana moratorium.

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