Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley, the youngest son of the legendary musician Bob Marley, has partnered with Ocean Grown Extracts to purchase a shuttered prison and turn it into a medicinal marijuana growing farm. The former 77,000 square foot complex, Claremont Custody Center, is located in Coalinga, CA. The property was purchased for $4.1 million by Damian Marley and his partners at Ocean Grown Extracts. The purchase immediately lifted the town of Coalinga out of its $3.3 million of debt and will provide 100 jobs at the pot growing farm. The town is expected to see over $1 million a year in annual tax revenue from marijuana sales.
According to Damian Marley’s longtime manager, Dan Dalton, the business venture began “in a very organic way.” Mr. Dalton noted that “Cannabis is something that’s around Damian every day with friends, family and with his Rastafarian faith. We’ve watched people who have sacrificed their lives for it. That injustice has motivated us to be advocates as well as knowing that there are healing properties in cannabis.” Mr. Marley along with his team at Ocean Grown and a Ph.D. chemist have developed their own strain of cannabis called Speak Life. The specific strain is based on the company’s highly-lauded OG Kush.
Damian Marley and his partners are positioning themselves for what is expected to be a “green rush” as California and seven other states (Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Arkansas, Florida, and North Dakota) are in the process of voting to legalize marijuana for recreational or medicinal use when the November elections arrive. In addition to his full-scale growing farm in California, Mr. Marley has also recently opened a 3,000 square foot dispensary called Stony Hill in downtown Denver, Colorado.
Damian Marley explained that marijuana has been an integral part of his life and he wasn’t sure he would see the day it would be legalized for recreational use. He said, “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.”