The youngest son of Bob Marley has revealed plans to turn an empty California prison into a cannabis farm that will make medical marijuana.
Damian Marley, 38, has gone into business with firm Ocean Grown Extracts to buy the disused Claremont Custody Center in Coalinga for $4.1 million.
Now they will cultivate the 77,000-square foot land to grow a strain of medical marijuana that will be distribute to state dispensaries.
Mr Marley’s father, reggae singer Bob, who died in 1981, was a convert to Rastafarianism and he spoke out about how he believed cannabis ‘opened up a spiritual door’ for him.
Damian told Billboard magazine: ‘Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up.
‘If this helps people and it’s used for medicinal purposes and inspires people, it’s a success.’
However, he added he will have strict criteria on the type of marijuana they will grow at the plant.
He said: ‘A lot of things – integrity of the product, something that I myself would use personally; also, something that I don’t mind young people being involved in, that is a big thing for me.
‘Also, I want my kids to look back and be proud of me and say I didn’t sell my soul to earn a dollar, that is very important to me.’
Since buying the plant Mr Marley and his business partners have instantly relieved $3.3 million of debt from authorities in Coalinga.
Once up and running, it is estimate it will create 100 jobs and millions of dollars in annual tax for the economically stagnant region.
The former prison’s interior remains largely untouched, although it will be completely overhauled to make way for the cannabis oil production facility.
Ocean Grown Extracts and any other companies that are permitted to grow medical marijuana within city limits must abide by strict rules.
All employees or contractors must pass background checks and receive work permits that are kept on file with the local police department.
Facilities must be gated, locked and closed to the public, and have 24-hour video surveillance that can be accessed by police.
Medical marijuana farms are not allowed to post signs, they must have odor control measures and every plant must be fitted with a tracking device.
California was the first state in the US to legalise cannabis for medical purposes in 1996.
However, the state voted down a measure in 2010 to allow the drug to be used for recreation.
But polls show public opinion has shifted since then and the state will vote again next month on legalising marijuana.
It came after an initiative calling for a change in the law secured 402,000 valid signatures need to qualify for the ballot.