The fascinating history of the ocean and evidence
“It wasn’t like we were trying to buy a prison. It was a happy coincidence. We were just trying to buy a property where we could grow herbs. As it turns out, the prison was available, ”said Damian Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley.
He talks about the cannabis cultivation facility owned and operated by a company he’s involved in, Ocean Grown Extracts. Located in Coalinga, California, the culture is located in a former abandoned prison.
“It’s our blessing, you know?” Because it wasn’t on purpose, but it ended up serving a purpose.
Indeed, just as Bob Marley had predicted: the herb would be the artifice of “the healing of the nation”.
Sons of redemption
The cannabis industry seems determined to breathe new life into forgotten places. From the transformation of an abandoned Coalinga prison into a huge cultural facility; the Canopy Growth production plant in Smiths Falls, Ontario, located in a former Hershey chocolate factory; In Massachusetts’ effort to turn years unused factories into indoor plantations, the legalization of marijuana appears to have sparked a wave of revitalization that has swept away places that had been left without thinking.
But reinventing real estate (and its uses) brings more than economic benefit to cannabis entrepreneurs and real estate investors. The ripple effect takes its full proportion here.
Just a few years ago, Coalinga, Calif., A city of about 17,000 people, faced a budget deficit and a crushing debt of over $ 3 million.
“The city was in debt. And we bought the prison for $ 4 million and change. And at that time, the city couldn’t even afford a fireworks display or to repair the park, ”says Dan Dalton, co-founder of Damialn Marley’s new cannabis brand, Evidence, and longtime manager and friend of the artist.
Money wouldn’t be the only thing needed to settle down as a cannabis grower in the small town of Coalinga. The locals weren’t thrilled to have a “weed factory” in their own backyard.
“Educating a conservative community has not been easy,” adds Dalton. “It was difficult to convey that our cannabis would not hit their streets and lead to crime. What we grow gets into trucks and leaves town; the establishment has no signage. And all of that tax revenue is there for the city now. In the first year, we created 100 jobs.
Do the right thing
Beyond the profits generated at Coalinga, Marley, Dalton and the Evidence team work hard to help those in prison for cannabis.
“When you look at all the work we do, it’s such a beautiful picture. Just the image of us growing weed in a prison says it all. That in itself says a lot, not to mention that we are so involved in helping people get out of jail, the Evidence brand and what it stands for, and everything we will get out of it… You couldn’t ask for better in place; you couldn’t ask for a stronger statement, ”Damian says.
Ocean Grown and Evidence are in partnership with the The Last Prisoner Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping non-violent cannabis prisoners to be released and have their records erased.
The brand’s ethics make it clear: “We grow weed in a prison to help people get out of prison because they grow weed. “
And Marley is very proud of it. “We hope it is also an example for others. In my experience, most people who are huge cannabis fans usually have a moral compass. So it’s great that we can see in what we do in the industry that we stay true to our moral in terms of helping people and the good thing.
Politics and Racism
Marley often wonders what makes someone think they have the right to make a plant illegal.
“The history of cannabis and how it first became illegal is laden with politics and racism,” he says. “Things that had nothing to do with cannabis itself or the effect that cannabis had on people. It’s a long conversation about studying and who gets sued and locked up for cannabis.
For Marley, cannabis should never have been banned in the first place.
“At the end of the day, it’s a natural plant; it is a gift from God, ”he says. “It can save lives. “
Seeking to shed light on the injustices derived from cannabis prohibition, Marley and Ocean Grown launched Evidence on the eve of June 17, 2021, coinciding with the 50e anniversary of President Nixon’s war on drugs.
Cannabis flower evidence wrappers look like police evidence bags, and the company donates $ 1 for each sale to the Last Prisoner Project (LPP).
“When we first brought an Evidence bag to an LPP dinner, people didn’t like it. And that was the goal: to make people uncomfortable, ”recalls Dalton. “The way we like to think about Evidence is like a disruptor, something that will start conversations. And that’s what it takes now. As uncomfortable as this conversation is, it has to happen.
To help get this message across, Evidence’s release was accompanied by a video collaboration produced by Dan Dalton, with appearances and contributions by Damian Marley, Berner and Evidence Creative Director Nabil Elderkin – a famous music video director known for his work with Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean and John Legend. The short documentary beautifully sums up the social justice movement and the message behind the brand.
“The proof is responsible smoking, responsible burning,” says Marley. “With Evidence, it’s action and reaction. We don’t just sell a product; there is a reaction there. People are moved and we help people.
And he continues, “We as reggae musicians, as a Rasta culture, as Jamaicans, we have always maintained that cannabis is legal. This movement is therefore very dear to us. Many of us have been sued for weed. I spent time in jail for weed. So from that point of view, it was very important for us for the legalization of cannabis.
“Cannabis is a big part of Jamaican culture and a big, big part of Rastafarian culture. Being my family who we are, it has always existed in a way. My dad smoked weed, of course. My siblings smoke weed. And just the people around me… Today is a big part of my life, my daily routine, ”concludes Marley.