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Damian Marley, Weed, an Abandoned Prison and a Struggling Town: the Fascinating Story of One Cannabis Co.



“It wasn’t like we were trying to buy a prison. It was serendipity. We were just trying to buy a property where we could grow herb. It so happened to be that the prison was available,” says Damian Marley, son of the legendary Bob Marley.

He’s talking about the cannabis cultivation facility owned and operated by a company he’s involved in, Ocean Grown Extracts. Situated in Coalinga, California, the grow-op is located in a formerly abandoned prison.

“That’s our blessing, you know? Because it wasn’t on purpose, but it ended up serving a purpose.”

Indeed, just like Bob Marley had predicted: the herb would be the artifice of “the healing of the nation.”

Redemption Son

The cannabis industry seems determined to pump new life into forgotten locations. From the transformation of an abandoned Coalinga prison into a huge grow-op; to Canopy Growth’s Smiths Falls, Ontario production facility located in an old Hershey chocolate factory; to Massachusetts’ effort to turn mills that had been unused for years into indoor plantations, marijuana legalization appears to have blasted a wave of revitalization sweeping over places that had been thoughtlessly left behind.

But reimagining real estate (and its uses) brings more than economic profit to cannabis entrepreneurs and real estate investors. The spillover effect takes full-blown proportion here.

Only a few years ago, Coalinga, California, a town of roughly 17,000 people, was struggling with budgetary deficit and a crippling debt of over $3 million.

“The town was in debt. And we purchased the prison for $4 million and change. And at that time, the city couldn’t even afford a fireworks show or to fix up the park,” explains Dan Dalton, co-founder of Damialn Marley’s new cannabis brand, Evidence, and long-time manager and friend of the artist.

Money wouldn’t be the only thing required to set up shop as a cannabis grower in the small town of Coalinga. Locals weren’t thrilled about having a “weed factory” in their own back yard.

“Educating a community …

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Health Care

Repeated Exposure to Major Disasters Has Long-term Mental Health Impacts



Repeated exposure to major disasters does not make people mentally stronger, a recent study found: individuals who have been repeatedly exposed to major disasters show a reduction in mental health scores.

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Damian Marley Interview: a Reggae Revolution From the Most High



This article was originally published on HoneySuckle Magazine and appears here with permission.

It’s easy to undestand why one of our favorite artists and public figures, Damian Marley, has made such a strong impact on the entire world. The renowned lyricist  is the youngest son of Jamaican Reggae legend Bob Marley. The famous rapper and DJ discussed spirituality, social justice, cannabis and his role at Last Prisoner Project.

“I Am ‘Jr. Gong'”

Damian Marley by Nabil

It’s not every day or ever, really, that you meet someone whose work you can follow for their entire life. Most people crash and burn when they find early stardom, but Damian Marley, it seems, has found a way to always stay ‘slick.’

Damian’s entire family is prolific, his brothers, sisters, and parents. But to me and most of the Honeysuckle staff, Damian has always stood out.

We saw him perform with his family at Kaya Fest in 2018, the first time in a decade all the Marley siblings had appeared onstage together, and have written about his distinctive place in music in past issues. Yet weaving throughout his entire career, and his natural way of life, is cannabis.

While the Marley Family in general has been lauded for bringing greater awareness to international cannabis consumption through various brands and projects, Damian has struck a particular note for social justice in partnering with the California-based company Ocean Grown Extracts. The family-owned business, co-founded by Damian’s long-time manager Dan Dalton with siblings Casey and Kelly, operates on 24 acres of land in the city of Coalinga, including a 77,000 square-foot facility that was formerly a prison.

Damian Marley by Nabil

“I just think he’s brilliant,” Dan says of Damian. “So well thought out, so talented, an incredible lyricist and producer. I think his approach to music [and cannabis, and life] is so authentic, no bullshit. It’s all for the right reasons. I’ve learned a lot from him.”

In 2019 Ocean Grown launched the brand Evidence, which donates proceeds from each bag of flower sold to the restorative justice nonprofit Last Prisoner Project (LPP). Damian and Dan both sit on LPP’s advisory board, alongside numerous influencers in the cannabis space such as the organization’s founders Steve and Andrew DeAngelo, actor Jim Belushi, and musician Melissa Etheridge.

After a long public silence during 2020, it seems Damian is now blazing all his fires. He sat down for a phone chat to discuss his next big moves, which include developing the brand HURB with Dan and global cannabis pioneer Berner, new music that pays homage to Jamaica’s legacy of reggae and dancehall genres, and the many ways that life is a circle.

“Jr. Gong” on Covid, Cannabis and Religion in Jamaica

HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: How have you been throughout the pandemic? You took a break from social media for several months.

DAMIAN MARLEY: Yeah, because of lockdown, we are like everyone else basically, taking it easy and I need some time to just be at home and self reflect a bit. Honestly, I’ve been in Miami throughout the whole ordeal, since February of 2020. Which is the first time since I was 17 that I’ve been in one place so long.

But in Jamaica they’ve been having lockdowns where from Saturday until Tuesday, you couldn’t leave your house. And then you’d go out Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then for half of the day Saturday. Then Saturday evening, lockdown again. So they just went through about three to four weekends straight of that; they’ve been having major lockdowns there. And of course, the population isn’t anywhere near as vaccinated or likely to take the vaccine as people here. So in the poorer communities it’s been a little bit rough. We don’t have the facilities that you have here when it comes down to hospital beds and such.

If you’re overwhelmed in America, imagine how it is there. They’re trying to make sure that it doesn’t get out of hand, even though it’s already very taxing… It hasn’t really ripped though the population like how it has here, per se. But at the same time, we can’t afford for that to happen. At one point, there were only 20 ventilators on the entire island.

Is there a lot of religious opposition to the vaccines in Jamaica?

Not necessarily religious. I think it’s overall mistrust, not having trust in our government and leaders. Jamaica is a very politically tribal place, so there’s always been a lot of general mistrust of our politicians. You can even hear it in our music… I guess the world in general is very polarized when it comes down to the vaccine. But Jamaica, for the most part, I would say leans toward being not in support of it in terms of the average citizen.

When I was in Jamaica years ago, nearly everybody smoked weed, but the government was very conservative and against it.

Ganja Culture in Jamaica

How …

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Can Cannabis Ease Chronic Itch?



This article was originally published on Cannabis & Tech Today and appears here with permission.

Medical marijuana (cannabis) may offer a promising option for patients with chronic itch, according to a new case study.

Chronic itch — known clinically as chronic pruritus — is characterized as an unrelenting and sometimes even debilitating sensation to itch, and often lowers the quality of life for those who have it.

Treating the condition has proved difficult because there are few Food and Drug Administration-approved therapies.

Chronic itch can be an especially difficult condition to treat, with off-label therapeutics often utilized,” says Shawn Kwatra, assistant professor of dermatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “With the increased utilization of medical marijuana and our knowledge of the role of the endocannabinoid system [a complex cell-signaling system that regulates …

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