From Ganja To Gaia
ROHAN MARLEY REFLECTS ON MOTHER NATURE AND THE HERB
STORY: ANICÉE GADDIS
Former all-star college football athlete, current coffee entrepreneur, and lifelong cannabis advocate, Rohan Marley is passionate when he speaks about mother nature, the benefits of the good leaf and its ability to enact positive social change. Fueled by this love for the earth, Rohan purchased 52 acres of land atop Jamaica’s stunning Blue Mountains—one of the world’s most prized coffee-producing regions—in 1999. Then in 2007, he founded Marley Coffee, an organic coffee plantation and sustainable farming business. These days Rohan works to safeguard his father’s legacy while returning to Bob’s original dream of giving back to the land and dedicating himself to farming.
We caught up with Rohan to talk about childhood memories, core values, and the abundant mysteries of mother nature.
What are some of the personal benefits of the herb for you?
I mostly think the main benefits of the herb – it’s a mind-state thing to bring me to a level of reasoning where I can go within myself and really reason, where I can really assess the situation and come up with the right answers. The herb really allows me to get within my mind, sort it out, and find the truth in what I’m trying to reveal.
What’s one of your fondest memories of your father?
I remember back then they would get the herb in the newspaper, they would cut it but it had a lot of seeds in it. They roll the seed up on the board and the herb seeds would fall down and I remember eating all the herb seeds. That’s one of the nice things I used to do as a young boy is eat a lot of herb seeds from my father when he would take the seeds out of the herb.
Did the seeds get you high?
They used to call me 'Smiley' and 'Jokey' [laughs], so I don’t know if that was one of the reasons, but I didn’t get high from the seeds, no. But I was always laughing.
Can you talk about the Marley Natural lifestyle values as they relate to your family’s core values?
Everything starts within the family principles and who we are as the Marley family. We’re Bob’s children and we have high regards to doing things the right way. Doing things so it’s not just beneficial to oneself, but to the earth and humanity. We learned this from Haile Selassie I, who our father pointed us to. The values of Marley Natural [are] just to maintain the integrity of who we are as a people and what we represent as the Marley children. Why we do what we do is to create more opportunity for people, create more jobs, and do things the right way so people can know what they’re intaking in their body. They can know where the products come from.
How did your father perceive cannabis?
"Herb is a plant," as my father would always say, "herb is a plant." And God created a plant just like he created all the other plants, coffee tree, strawberry trees, mango trees, all these other things, whether it’s mint herb or this herb or that herb, it’s an herb, and all herbs have their own medicinal benefits.
Why is it so important to have an official Bob Marley cannabis brand?
It’s important for us as a family, who have been advocates for cannabis for such a long time, that now we can produce something where you know the levels of the THC, you know the levels of the CBD. You know what to intake. You know what not to intake. You know where it is coming from. You know how it’s grown. You know how your products are being taken care of. We want to talk about the sustainability and the life and the purpose of the herb. So one cannot only be medicated but live a good life and live free and be in touch with oneself. And so herb is important.
What about the possibility for cannabis to enact positive social change?
If you know my father, cannabis activated some things in my father. He was part of social change and still is a part of social change. It’s just a thing where…elevate your mind. It’s a medium toward social consciousness. It’s not the only way but it’s a way. The more you smoke the herb the more you cite up Rastafari. And when you cite up Rastafari it’s about love and peace. Social consciousness is just a part of a way of life through Rastafari and through the healing which is the medicinal herb. It can awaken this love consciousness within people. The herb will create that social consciousness just because it’s a medicine for the mind.
Can you describe your relationship to mother nature? How important mother nature is because without mother nature we can’t eat, we can’t drink, we can’t sleep – you’re nonfunctional. It’s mother nature that feeds us even though we can go to supermarket and get food in a package. It first started on the land, with nature. Nature is the source of all things. And it’s mother nature, the earth, that we all came from, and we all shall always be a part of mother nature.