Damian Marley is turning a California prison that formerly housed nonviolent drug offenders into a cannabis-cultivation facility.
Marley, 38, along with his business partner Ocean Grown Extracts, will be converting the 77,000-square-foot Claremont Custody Center into a farm that will grow medicinal marijuana for state dispensaries, Billboard reports.
"Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up," says Marley. "If this [venture] helps people and it's used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it's a success."
By purchasing the facility for $4.1 million, Marley and his partners have already helped the town of Coalinga, Calif., which had $3.3 million in debt. The venture is projected to provide 100 jobs and generate millions in tax revenue for Coalinga.
Marley and his partners are prepared for the expected passage of California’s Proposition 64, which would legalize cannabis for adult recreational use. The facility will begin producing oil extracts in 60 days and should have its first harvest crop in January.
This is not Marley’s first foray into the marijuana business. Two weeks ago he launched a 3,000-square-foot dispensary in downtown Denver, just across the street from Mile High Stadium, along with a 30,000-square-foot grow space with his Colorado partners, TruCannabis.
When asked if he had considered the possibility of marijuana being legalized in his lifetime, Marley said, “This was definitely something we were working towards for a long time, before I was even born. There was Peter Tosh's 'Legalize It' and songs like that—this is something our culture has been working towards. I was optimistic that it would one day be legal—and now it is here."
Read more at Billboard.