Ziggy Marley taps his inner Jack Herer for his latest cannabis crusade
By Roberto C. Hernandez
Recently, I had the distinct pleasure to spend some time with reggae legend Ziggy Marley—who we had the privilege of showcasing on the cover of CULTURE’s October issue. Certainly, the roots icon needed no introduction as we chatted about a number of things on this rainy, introspective day—Proposition 19, his new comic-book superhero and cannabis. In an exclusive interview, Marley spoke passionately about his holistic take on cannabis and its place in society. A place beyond the medical and recreational debate, beyond the politics and laws. In fact, as far as Ziggy’s concerned, cannabis will be the salvation or redeemer for the planet through its various uses and applications. Marley’s world is one where cannabis and hemp products give birth to biofuel instead of fossil fuels, provide food products to feed the starving masses and—of course—bring relief to our bodies, our minds and our spirits.
Sounds like Ziggy pulled a Jack Herer!
Proving he can put his musical money where his mouth is, Marley recently released “A Fire Burns For Freedom,” a free digital single and his ode to how freeing marijuana can free our world.
In introducing the song, Marley wrote on his website: “A plant that if utilized to its full potential will greatly benefit humankind in many different aspects of our lives and existence.” To emphasize his global, no, universal, take on marijuana, the artist will launch his cannabis crusader, Marijuanaman, in a new graphic novel scheduled for release on—when else?—April 20, 2011.
Obviously, “A Fire Burns For Freedom” it’s a pro-pot song. But I also noticed that it was an acoustic, stripped-down song. Why go for this approach? To keep things rootsy?
It had a raw feeling, that acoustic sounding version. So, I just said, “Let me try an acoustic version.” It’s just a guitar and my voice.
I’ve heard that while you’re supportive of cannabis for medicinal and recreational uses, you feel that marijuana can be used for so much more. Is this true?
Yes, yes, that’s my take on it. My take is that we should free the plant. The whole thing—every part of it. And talk about every part of it and expose every part of it. And legalize every part of it.
So, smoking it for health or for fun is just part of a much larger picture?
I think that is a problem that our society has with the concept, because they don’t know enough. They only know a little bit . . . I think that’s why some people still don’t understand the plant and what it can do. It has real medicinal properties. And some use it for recreational [uses], some cultures use it for spirituality, but I just feel like the struggle should be total freedom, you know? People who know more about the totality of the plant and all of its uses, not just the smoking part of it.
So, what kind of examples? Are we talking about industrial uses, rope, clothing—
Nutrition. Biofuel. Energy. Every aspect of our lives can be affected by the plant, including our body, including our mentality, including the environment, including energy use.
We can use cannabis to feed people?
The hemp seed has certain things that are beneficial. It has some proteins and things like that. You know, hundreds of years ago, people used to use hemp seed to make porridges and food. So, this plant is a weed and it can spring up anywhere. It’s a weed that doesn’t need much, ah, finessing. There are so many children suffering from malnutrition. If the leaders of this world—the United Stations, UNICEF—can see that this plant can easily be grown, can easily be harvested to nourish children who are suffering. And you’re gonna fight this? You’re gonna make this their problem? Why? Why? Why is my question? Why? Why?
What are your thoughts about what’s happening in places in California regarding marijuana rights?
Another thing I think is that this is not just an American issue and it should never be. It’s a world issue, you know? California is a leader in it, the people of California are leaders. Holland knows something about it. But there’s much more to it that we need to expose and take advantage of, which we’re not. . . . . The fuel, the nutrition, we could use the fiber. This plant is renewable, it can save some trees, help the Earth. So, my God, it’s an incredible thing this plant. To me, I see it as a gift. Somebody said, “Here you go, planet, human beings, here’s a gift for you.”