Julian Marley was born into a family known for several things: amazing reggae, Rastafarianism, cannabis, and activism. His father, Bob Marley, is both a musical and marijuana icon, so it’s no surprise that Julian followed in his footsteps, launching his music career with 1995’s Mr. Marley and his cannabis line, JuJu Royal, in 2014.
In spring 2017, Julian will release his fifth album, which features his latest single, “War Zone.” The track’s music video, which is overtly critical of the war machine, features the Weed for Warriors Project, a Santa Cruz-based program that provides safe access to free medical cannabis to veterans who have a valid doctor’s recommendation. JuJu Royal donates 1 percent of its proceeds to the nonprofit.
MERRY JANE got in touch with Julian in the middle of his tour to talk to him about his new album, his family connection, and his cannabis line.
MERRY JANE: You grew up in a musical family. How were you able to find and hone your own musical sound?
Julian Marley: Just by playing, playing, and more playing, until you grow and become who you are. I love music. I love creating music. My sound became me from a natural growth and an organic progression, which I found at some point in time by simply playing and listening to music every day, learning from musicians who inspire me, and keeping the heart and mind focused on spreading conscious messages to the people.
What can people expect from your new album?
This time we are bringing many different vibes, including some ska. The album will be an overall theme of upliftment. Just as herb brings upliftment, the new music will bring upbeat vibes, a new energy that says: “Smile more, love more, keep dancing, and no matter what happens, everything will be alright.”
Many people connect cannabis to the Marley family name, so it’s cool that you have your own line out. How do you distinguish JuJu Royal from others that are out there?
JuJu Royal is different from others because all of the products are approved and inspected by me. JuJu Royal is natural, pure, clean, and organic. The products represent upliftment at all times, and at the core, that’s a representation of me.
How does it feel to be going international with your brand?
It’s an overwhelmingly great feeling to know the brand has been accepted, as it took a very long time to create. It’s also great to see the world has become accepting of herb. As a Rasta man, it feels special to represent the movement toward global legalization, and also to be involved with offering people natural benefits of the herb, including spiritual upliftment and overall health and wellness.
What’s your favorite product from your line?
I love all of the products. They are all special, handpicked, and carefully chosen.
What benefits do you personally get from cannabis?
Once I learned about the medicinal benefits of the plant, I started using CBD oils to calm body aches and pains. Herb opens up the mind to take in the inspiration of the Almighty. Herb is a sacred, spiritual sacrament that I use for good meditation practices and spiritual reasons, mainly. Herb opens up my creative process. It also helps me to relax; it soothes and takes the stress of the day away. I use herb to reason with or vibe with people.