Marijuana prison venture is Damian Marley’s vision for economic growth
Bob Marleys youngest son wants to transform a decompose California prison into a medical marijuana manufacturing plant and revitalize a depressed rural town
Reggae superstar Bob Marley liked to say that herb is the healing of the nation. Now his youngest son, Damian Marley, is putting that claim to the test with a marijuana venture that promises to transform a deteriorate California prison into a huge medical marijuana manufacturing plant.
It also promises to revitalize a depressed rural township that long depended on a prison economy, but is now turning to pot.
Its a statement, Marley told the Guardian, to grow herb in a place that used to contain prisoners locked up for herb.
The business venture signals a growing confidence in the cannabis industry, which has been rapidly spreading across the country as a result of state referendums that are legalizing medical or recreational marijuana.
California, the first nation in the US to approve medical marijuana in 1996, appears to be on the cusp of voting for full recreational legalization in a referendum in November.
Recreational weed is already legal in Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska, but Californias referendum is potentially staggeringly significant, opening up a new marketplace in an economy that this week overtake the UK to become the fifth largest in the world.
Against this backdrop, Marleys project has emerged as a potent symbol of shifting positions on pot and incarceration in American society.
The empty prison in Coalinga, California, has remained frozen in time since its close in 2011. Behind the heavy doorways of the solitary prison cells are small metal bed frames, thin mattresses, steel toilet bowls, and old shoes of inmates past.
Casey Dalton, co-owner of Ocean Grown Extracts, the company behind Marleys project, toured the former prison with the Guardian.
The old dining room, she told, will be used for cannabis petroleum refinement and large dormitory hallways will be converted to plant cultivation centers.
Read more: www.theguardian.com