Legendary Reggae superstar Bob Marley's youngest son, Damian Marley, is working to transform a former California state prison into a medical marijuana manufacturing plant.
Damian and Ocean Grown Extracts purchased the Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga, California for US$4.1 million, and are converting it into a ‘cannabis cultivation facility’. The new marijuana manufacturing facility will employ at least 100 people, plus a thousand more in construction and related businesses, and is estimated to annually generate $1 million dollars in tax revenues for Coalinga.
It also promises to revitalize a depressed rural town that long depended on a prison economy, but is now turning to pot. “It’s a statement,” Marley told the Guardian in a interview, “to grow herb in a place that used to contain prisoners locked up for herb.”Co-owner of Ocean Grown and brother of Marley’s manager, Dan Dalton, said he hopes the project is seen as a kind of protest to the criminal justice system. Dalton called it a “symbolic and a big middle finger to the drug war and to a broken system that hasn’t worked.”
The 77,000 square foot facility which once housed more than 500 non-violent drug offenders, will now house a marijuana plant cultivation center and oil refinery that will sell products wholesale to state owned medical marijuana dispensaries.
It is projected to produce its first batch of oil extracts within the next 60 days, and harvest its first crop by January. The facility will later increase its operations to transportation, distribution, and testing.
Damian said although his family and culture has always been advocates of and working for the legalization of marijuana, he would have never predicted he’d be opening a dispensary. He further said “If this helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.”