“Education Before Recreation”: Stephen Marley on His Weed-Centric Music Fest

Article by Tyler Koslow, Merry Jane

The son of reggae legend Bob Marley chats with MERRY JANE about his upcoming cannabis music festival, sharing the stage with his brothers, and his undying love for the herb.

The legendary Jamaican musician Bob Marley and his extensive family lineage are synonymous with love and appreciation for the herb. The cultural icon has passed both his musical talents and relentless advocacy down to his kin. Stephen Marley, the son of Bob and Rita Marley, was infamously born on April 20, 1972. Yes, to repeat that, Bob Marley’s son was born on 4/20. To celebrate his upcoming birthday, as well as the general strength and growth of the legal cannabis movement, Stephen is organizing a next-level party.

The six-time Grammy award winner has announced the first annual Kaya Fest, a full-day music event presented by Fruit of Life Productions and David F. Alfonso. The festival will take place on 4/22 at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater in Miami, and features live performances from The Marley Brothers (Stephen, Ziggy, Damian, Julian, and Kay Mani), Lauryn Hill, Sean Paul, Wyclef Jean, and Inner Circle.

A number of cannabis brands will also be on the scene at the Kaya Village, including Herbo, Ocean Grown Extracts, Ojai Energetics, as well as Marley family brands like Julian Marley’s JuJu Royal, Damian Marley’s Stony Hill Dispensary, and Ghetto Youths International—the reggae record label founded by Stephen and his brothers. Festival attendees will learn about the many health benefits of cannabis plant, particularly for treating glaucoma, epileptic seizures, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other ailments.

The day before the festival, Stephen and NORML will co-sponsor the Kaya “Education Before Recreation” Symposium, an event to highlight and explore the many benefits of cannabis use. The conference will feature an expert panel of medical professionals and advocates in the cannabis industry, and it will be moderated by Donisha Prendergast, a renowned filmmaker, community activist, and the eldest granddaughter of Rita Marley.

In order to spread the word about his upcoming cannabis-centric music festival, Stephen talked to MERRY JANE about playing with all of his brothers in Miami for the first time in 20 years, his undying love for the herb, and using his platform to “educate the world about the plant.”

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