By Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – As he and his brothers prepare for the second Kaya Fest, Stephen Marley believes their father would be pleased with his family’s efforts to educate the world about the benefits of marijuana.
Kaya Fest, held last year in Miami, is scheduled for April 28-29 at the Nos Events Center in San Bernandino, California.
“I know he would be proud that we are continuing his message that herb is a healing power that should be respected. This year, we are commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Kaya album and again furthering awareness for the healing power of herb,” said Stephen.
Kaya was released on March 23, 1978 by Island Records. Considered Bob Marley’s most mellow work, it hears him praising marijuana (known as ganja in his native Jamaica) on songs like Kaya and Easy Skanking.
Bob Marley died in May, 1981 in Miami at age 36.
Stephen Marley, his brothers Ziggy, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian will again headline Kaya Fest. Toots and The Maytals, Marcia Griffiths, Inner Circle, Kabaka Pyramid, Lauryn Hill, Cypress Hill and Common Kings are also on the two-day show.
The inaugural Kaya Fest was held at Bayfront Park Amphitheater in downtown Miami and drew a near full house. Stephen Marley put the change in location down to spreading the word.
“No reason other than to continue to share the music and the movement with all,” he said.
California is traditionally one of the most liberal states in terms of marijuana use. Since the mid-1970s, it has been home to a massive roots-reggae community.
In February, 2016, the Marley family launched its Marley Natural brand of marijuana strains in the United States. The Marley, Red, Gold, Green and Black are available through three dispensaries in California.
Ten months later, it was announced that Damian Marley and business partners Ocean Grown Extracts purchased a former prison in central California to grow marijuana.
Smoking marijuana was illegal in Jamaica in Bob Marley’s lifetime. Many Rastafarians, including Bunny Wailer, his colleague in The Wailers, were prosecuted for smoking the plant. But in late 2015, the country’s government instituted legislations to de-criminalize certain aspects of marijuana. This includes preventing persons held with two ounces of the weed from prosecution.