By Jamie Allen
Oregon Cannabis Connection
Sept 1, 2016 – What comes to mind when you think of Bob Marley? Although I never met Marley in person, like most of you I have come to know the iconic image he created for himself. It’s good music, a good vibe, and good cannabis. I am not terribly surprised that the Marley family has teamed up with Privateer Holdings (parent company to big names like Leafly, and Tilray) to create Marley Natural®, a Bob Marley-inspired line of cannabis products.
Has Marley Natural® successfully channeled the Marley vibe we’ve come to expect when we hear the famous name? Despite the fact that the company has found itself the recipient of some backlash among critics for being a bit too commercial and being funded by “bigger” money, my experience is that the people behind the scenes at Marley Natural® really care about the products, which does justice to the Marley name, and especially that Marley vibe.
On August 24th, I arrived at Nectar (an upscale dispensary, a nearly perfect fit to carry the upscale Marley Natural® line) for the media launch and was greeted at the door by Anton Albrand, Marley Natural’s general manager. Right off the bat, I was impressed at how much personal care Anton took to make the media launch successful, and to get to know the people who walked through the door on a first name basis.
The other thing that struck me was the beauty of the Marley Natural® smoke accessories with their black walnut accents and clear glass. But the buck didn’t stop there. Everything with the Marley name on it is beautiful, if not boutiquelike. Berrin Noorata, Marley Natural’s Director of Public Relations, gave me a quick tour in which I got to see the smokable products in the backroom (stay tuned for an upcoming review of the Marley Natural® flower strains). The cannabis, sold in glass jars, also gave off that high end vibe that I really hope will be mirrored in
its smoke quality.
Noorata explained how the cannabis is locally sourced in each state where it’s carried. This means that Marley Natural® not only looks boutiquelike, it is. This isn’t mass produced cannabis, it’s small batch, and the idea is that the final product has a higher end and hand-picked quality.
The company hasn’t stopped with marketing cannabis though Rise Up, the “philanthropic initiative created by Marley Natural with the intention of expanding on Bob Marley’s ethos, ideals, and core values.” It has already sponsored one event in Oregon, aimed at “positive social change, environmental sustainability, and lifting up communities that have been harmed by the social injustices of cannabis prohibition.”
On August 31st, I happily attended Marley Natural®’s official Oregon launch party, held at Portland’s long established Produce Row. A special guest DJ set by Zuri Marley (Bob Marley’s granddaughter), as well as rum infused mixed drinks and a large back patio smoking area certainly gave off the Marley vibe I was hoping for. As night fell, a large “M” was cast onto the wall of the patio. The Marley Natural® team thought of everything, but they were humble when asked about the successful event and launch.
When asked whether he was finally basking in the afterglow of the brand’s success, Albrand replied, “Not yet!” The smile on his face said otherwise, though. The party felt like a hit to me, and with all of the care and attention the crew has put into the brand, Marley Natural® will likely also be huge.
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