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Is there no end to Bob Marley greed?

JOINT: Bob Marley loved his spliff joints

THE NEWS that Bob Marley's name and image is to front an international cannabis brand is enough to make any self-respecting rasta cut off their dreadlocks. It was bad enough when King Marley was alive. You couldn't go through customs as a natty without being pulled over and a rather intimate examination conducted on your person by way of one of your orifices. 

In those days I used to blame my mentor Peter Tosh for that. He was the ‘Bush Doctor', the ‘Ganja General' the ‘Legalise It' agitator. Don't get me wrong, I love Tosh like I love callaloo, he brought me up like a young brother and took me round the world with him. But he didn't half get me into a lot of trouble when I was a yuteman and trying to travel undercover with my locks wrapped in a tight tam. You see, Peter was the one who told custom guys around the world to “I and I must free up the herb" and let it be known that he wasn't about to go on tour anywhere on dis yah planet Eart' without the herb that Jah gave I and I for the fulfilment of mankind.


BACK THEN: When Dotun had dreadlocks

Well, you can imagine what the reaction of customs guys was after that.

I remember one time I flew into Heathrow from Stockholm of all places and the customs guys let everybody else from the plane go past, because Sweden is not a country of contraband. But as I walked past them with dreads tightly packed in a beret, I could feel one single lock slip out, like a forelock in front of my face.

So the customs guy pulls me over and hear him now: “Come on, where is it. Where's the good sense. We pulled Peter Tosh over the other day....”

Like I say, I love Tosh like I love roast fish and cornbread, but I had to cut off my locks because of him.

Peter was a man who fought for the legalisation of cannabis 24-7, even to the detriment of his musical talents.

After recording two sublime albums in Legalise It and Equal Rights, he went off the boil as he spent more and more time appearing before special meetings of the United Nations and before heads of governments speaking on behalf of ganja. I knew Peter Tosh and I know he lost focus - an' me nah tek back dem chat.

Marley, on the other hand, smoked spliff night and day but didn't spend his life promoting it. Even though that was what Western journalists wanted him to do. That seemed to be the only questions that they asked him - whether it was the NME or Rolling Stone magazines. All they seemed to want to know was how many pounds of colly he was consuming on a daily basis. How many times have you seen any of those journalists ask him the obvious musical questions like: Bob, how did you manage to write such a supremely seductive love song like Stir It Up?


LEGALISE IT: Peter Tosh wanted to legalise cannabis

You see what I'm saying, Tosh might be appropriate to use on a commercial cannabis product (I would still feel queazy about that) but certainly not Marley. It is a demeaning of the Marley name, brand, image and memory. He is the king of reggae after all. Would they even entertain using the name and image of the so-called king of rock n roll Elvis Presley to advertise a constipation tablet just because he died on the toilet seat? Come on, now. That would be a diss to the man why put the 'n' in that music?

Most shockingly about this news is that the Marley family agreed to it. Really? Is there no end to the greed of this collection of relatives in the exploitation of the great reggae saint's memory? Did Rita agree to this insult to her husband's name? Did Ziggy agree to this besmirching of his father's memory? Did Damian ‘Jnr Gong’ Marley go along with this diss of the Tuff Gong's achievements?

Bob Marley was not a spliffhead. He was not a dopehead. He was a great musician and a rastaman who smoked spliff.

Why are those who have lived off his name and profited by it for the last 33 years now ensuring that he will ultimately be remembered like the Malboro man?

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