In a technology-centered magazine, there are few opportunities to discuss spirituality.
Yet, in this exclusive interview with Julian Marley, I’m reminded of the roots of the cannabis movement.
Throughout its history, the herb has been part of rituals, part of healing, part of a deeper connection with the Earth and with each other.
Marley brought that point home, always coming back to the root of the plant’s culture and significance.
Perhaps it’s the role of cannabis in Rastafari or the profound part it played in the music of Marley’s father, Bob Marley, that inspires Julian to speak of the plant with such reverence.
He’s focused on the healing qualities of cannabis, centering his brand JuJu Royal around the compound cannabidiol (CBD).
He believes in its ability to relieve pain, but more so believes it can cure diseases if only it were properly researched.
His distress at the lack of scientific study stems from a deep, personal loss.
Yet, despite his suffering, the Grammy Award-nominated artist maintains his message of love and hope.
Here, we discuss spirituality, creativity, and higher consciousness through the lens of a reggae revolutionary.
Cannabis & Tech Today: You often speak about the spiritual effects of cannabis. How do you use the plant to enhance that part of your life?
Julian Marley: Well, it’s spiritual because it goes with mankind. So, things God gave man dominion over are: things, freedom of thought, and freedom of action.
This good herb enhances who you are. So I’m a spiritual person, when you partake of the herb, you find you go deeper into that meditation that you’re going into.
When you smoke herb, basically you find time for your thought process.
You find time to sit back and really think, because people’s minds run so fast that we forget to eat.
We forget to give thanks for life.
So yes, smoke the herb. Remember to give thanks for life. And remember you have to take care of yourself.
As a spiritual person, when I smoke the herb it enhances my connection with my spirit, which connects to God almighty.
Herb just enhances who you are.
If you are a musician, you’re going to play more music. If you are a writer, you are going to write more.
If you’re doing wrong, you just have a bit more wrong. If you’re doing right, you do right and you’ll get the benefit from the right.
C&T Today: When you are brainstorming new music or creating a song, is it something you use every time?
JM: You use it when you want to use it. For me, yeah, we smoke herb when we’re creating.
But as we say, it just opens your channels to the inspiration that God is sending.
Because it doesn’t even matter how much you smoke, if you don’t get inspiration, you don’t come up with anything.
There’s inspiration with meditation.
C&T Today: Your father often sang about the intersection between cannabis and social issues. Is that something you try to speak to in your music?
JM: Yes. When you smoke herb, it’s a social thing, as you know.
Herb is even more enhancing than if you drink some wine.
Picture when you’re going to have some wine with your friends; you sit down and you drink and talk.
So the thing with herb, you sit down, you talk, and you reason about life. You reason about certain things we have to find a solution for.
So it’s a positive result you’re looking for when we smoke herb.
And if you’re surrounded by good people, good brethrens and sistrens, who can give you a good conversation, then that’s where it’s good.
But if you’re sitting down and listening to a lot of folly, then you’re going to only go in more folly.
As I say, it only enhances what you’re doing. So if we’re sitting down talking about Rastafari and social issues, we’re going to talk and we’re going to find the truth.
C&T Today: Have your tours around the U.S. changed since more states have embraced legalization?
JM: Well, I don’t know, because we always have been smoking herb every time.
We smoke herb no matter where it is.
It’s become more socially accepted. People are realizing the benefits of the plant.
It’s not like a cup of wine. You can only do one thing with a cup of wine, get drunk. You know what I’m saying?
You can’t extract it to do nothing else, but herb, you can cook it, you can bake it, you can build a rope, you can do a million things with one plant.
It’s a magical plant.
It’s being acknowledged and given more acknowledgement because they have knowledge of it, but they’re still trying to find out how to do this and how to do that with it instead of releasing it, letting the people get it, and letting the people be healed.
But they’re holding back the healing because they’re trying to find out how to make some bucks.
They want to make millions like cigarettes.
Well, cigarettes kill people, herb frees the people. So, that’s the problem.
C&T Today: Why does JuJu Royal carry only CBD products rather than whole plant products?
JM: CBD, for me, is healing for the body. Lately I have been more focused on body healing.
Finding things that I want to offer the people, because everyone can find herb to smoke.
There’s a world full of herb, really.
But this herb, do we know how to extract it to make something that can heal your body? Now, that is the new mission.
So CBD is good for the body, good for aches. It helps with a lot of things, serious diseases, also.
So it became a passion to find deeper things that are in the plant.
Because I heard that there are so many different elements, there are about 500 different natural chemicals in the plant.
It’s so fascinating. We can do a million things with that plant, if we extract the right ingredient.
And also, I’ve suffered recently the loss of my daughter to cancer. It was brain cancer. So this is why we’ve changed it into CBD.
Because when I was looking, there was nothing. No one was researching and everyone is fighting the education of the plant because they haven’t found a way to make millions of dollars off it yet.
Lives are in jeopardy because people are waiting to see how much money they can make.
C&T Today: Is CBD something your daughter was able to use to help ease some of her suffering?
JM: Some of, yes. But there was even more research that we heard, that the plant can actually help to cure cancer.
It’s not just a plant by itself, obviously, but just to know that the right research is not happening to really use the plant how it’s needed, freely, without being run down by hospitals and governments.
So while they give you drugs that mash you down, they want to keep the plant from being free.
Big education is a movement I’m very passionate about.
And just knowing that yeah, it does help with pain, obviously, but it also can help in the healing of cancers and many different things.
Well, without education, without the dosage, without the writings, you never know what to do.
So that is how this is. It’s a natural plant, you can do a million things. But what to do with it to cure?
That’s the question, what to do with it, because I’ve been doing research and it doesn’t make any sense.
Everyone has recreational herb. We all smoke herb. But do we all have the healing? Do we know how to boil it down and make tea? Or make something different out of it?
That is the kind of thought process I find myself in now, when it comes to the herb business.
C&T Today: You said you’re working with CBD because it can help people, but I think sometimes the industry loses sight of that. Have you found that to be a surprising element of the cannabis industry?
JM: Yeah, it’s so very surprising. They just look at it to make money. It’s just money, money, money.
They’re not about the healing.
But at some point they’re going to realize they’re going to need to find a new way, because they’re going to get sick, too.
And when they get sick, they’re going to have to go right back to square one again.
The more they say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re making money, we’re not doing any more research.’ At some point they’re going to have to research it, because that’s the way the world is going.
More and more things are attacking mankind and our health, things that people don’t even understand.
Yet we’re surrounded by mother nature, who has everything for us.
C&T Today: Did your daughter’s passing play a part in the development of As I Am, your most recent record?
JM: When it was released was when I found out… while it was happening.
It has been a challenge for the album, because we have to deal with life first, and children, before we can go on tour and do these kind of things, you know?
We call it part of life’s tribulations, because it’s the only thing we can say. Here comes something trying to cut down what is positive and right.
But as we say, Jah gives us enough fire that keeps the fire burning continuously. Because everything comes down to Jah.
We say Jah, meaning God. So give thanks to God, because if there is no God, if we have got no hope, then there would be no purpose to anything.
So give thanks for the consciousness of the herb. Give thanks to God. And continue the road in righteousness. It becomes a spiritual thing now.
C&T Today: I think there are so many people who are going through something similar to what you’ve experienced this year. Is there anything you’d like to say to those who might be struggling with the sorrow of loss?
JM: Well, speaking for the children, the children do not go through Armageddon.
They don’t go through the judgment, which we speak of, we speak about revelation, and the Bible speaks of judgment time, and heaven. We know that the children are in heaven.
So the best thing we can do as adults is to get ourselves to heaven, too. Because that’s the only way, that is the faith and the goodness, which keeps me moving.
Since she’s in heaven, that means I have got work to do because I want to go to heaven too, so we have to go do the right thing.
So, no one knows the time of judgment, so the judgment can be tomorrow morning and there will be people on earth.
So, some people reach spiritually, and some people are here, and who is here has to do what we have to do until that time. So, it becomes spiritual food.
We take the sorrows and turn it into — like lightning and thunder — strength, spiritual strength. It’s just like lightning, a mighty force.
C&T Today: What’s the most enduring message you hope fans will take away from your music?
JM: The most enduring message is love. Love. Have love. Let the love grow. And love cannot have any boundaries.
Our sole reason for making music is just to free the people, give the people what is needed, and for me what’s needed is consciousness, upliftment in our spiritual awareness.
So, love each other, love God. Love each other and love God. That is one of the biggest messages.
Images courtesy of Julian Marley and JuJu Royal.