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Well, it certainly was not to provide inspiration to thousands of suburban teenagers after his death, that's pretty clear. Marley himself used marijuana ("ganja") as a religious sacrament, and advocated for the rights of Rastas to smoke marijuana for that reason. The question is, is there irony in the fact that hordes of teenaged middle-class Americans semi-worship Marley as an iconic pot smoker, when in fact the Rastafarian belief system views middle-class America as Babylon, an evil world built on the back of centuries of slavery and African oppression?

I'm inclined to think that Marley would've appreciated the worldwide respect that his music still garners, and would be happy to know that his messages of peace, pacifism, and social justice continue to ring out, but I can't quite bring myself to think that he would've approved of all the gratuitous and casual usage of marijuana in his "honor" that happens all over the world, mostly by non-Rastas (and sometimes by young quasi-Rastas, who often seem to be trying to rationalize their illegal behavior by a half-hearted adherence to just one or two tenets of the religion). What do you think? Leave a comment and join the conversation!

Comments

August 16, 2010 at 10:38 am
(1) No Bob says:

The world was using marijuana long before Marley, the european poets ( Baudelaire , De Quincey etc ) eat it like jam , smoking it like Bob could cause lung cancer that’s the problem …

August 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm
(2) Erroll says:

it takes just a little to calm our raging silliness, I find…
we should cultivate the green into our souls
for the sake of peace

August 21, 2010 at 2:07 pm
(3) Dyrkness says:

I don’t think that “teens” use Bob to rationalize their behavior.I think they like the music and the ganja is just a side effect of learning about the culture.In other words,musicians who are into jazz no longer use it just so they can do heroin.

August 26, 2010 at 12:36 am
(4) rastaman says:

While I agree that the situation is most certainly ironic, I don’t think Bob Marley would really concern himself with whether people who enjoyed his music and culture were “posers” or not. I don’t think the vast majority of these kids are choosing to smoke marijuana to emulate and idolize Marley, rather, I believe that people who already partake in smoking marijuana are drawn towards the vibe and message which Bob Marley personifies. There are most certainly those who justify their behavior upon the false pretense of dabbling in Rastafarian rituals, but I think Bob’s whole message was that it is not for us to judge, but for the individual to come into acceptance on their own accord. I just wrote a similar post on my blog detailing Bob Marley Smoking thoughts. Check it out if you get a chance. Thanks for the good read.

September 12, 2010 at 11:05 am
(5) rasta shaman says:

hey man, we all human have the right to burn the herb the way it pleases our soul… it’s a sacrament and it’s also intertaining… we can haf some good time and feel religious at the same time, if we only crawl out ot evil and agressiveness… and ganja helps us being calm and relaxed…

October 20, 2010 at 1:45 pm
(6) Nebula Haze - I love weed! says:

I think there are a lot of issues going on here. Young teenagers are drawn to the Rastafarian lifestyle because they love cannabis, and because they are seeking something, anything, that is different from their normal lives. Teenagers are seeking to find their true identity, and many see much that they like in the Rastafarian lifestyle. I believe Bob Marley would have loved that so many people are looking into the lifestyle he represented, and whether they are all faithful converts or not, at least they are giving the lifestyle their consideration. That being said, it is still pretty ironic the way many people ‘practice’ Rastafarianism.

November 8, 2010 at 11:48 am
(7) Alli says:

Smoking pot doesn’t cause lung cancer, Bob Marley was inspried by the joy of smoking pot, therefore he made great songs. The pot didn’t kill him

November 18, 2010 at 12:35 am
(8) blueskins says:

a lil birdy told me that willie nelson suggested it to bob as bob had cancer so i dont know how much of that is true ya may ask bob or willie himself ……….. peace out having a joint and going to my bed good night

January 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm
(9) Bobalina says:

I love Bob Marley.!!!!!!!!!!(:

February 16, 2011 at 9:34 am
(10) uksmoker says:

this is absolute rubbish people smoked weed way before bob marley .. teens find insperation from bobs music and his way of life .. herb is the healing of a nation and alchohol the distruciton to but it blunt .>> i am a 17 year old hu smokes weed and i listen to bobs song because they are fantastic songs and i respect his opnion on smoking weed .. end of the day anyone can smoke weed and listen to his songs

March 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm
(11) Tyler says:

Bob Marley didnt have lung cancer ya jackass!! He had acral lentiginous melanoma, a skin cancer that starts as a mole usually from under a toenail. He died becuase it spread to his brain and lungs!! Damn you people! He wasnt just a marajuana smoker. He sang with intent to spread peace in the world!!!!

March 10, 2011 at 3:35 am
(12) charlies ochieng says:

I think da same with da late marley.I think it shud b legalised ww as we can see it less risky as compared wid other drugs.Over conssumption may be there and this is what we shud avoid.Rastamen/women lets have it.

May 11, 2011 at 3:37 am
(13) Martinxmart says:

I think weed is good for the health as well as the brain. Every one of my role models did smoke marijuana. Bob Marley, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti and 2pac Amaru Shakur…. I’m music lover and peace bringer. I don’t smoke weed because any of my role models did it: I smoke weeds because ever since the first day i started i felt this inner joy in me. Alcohol will destroy the world but weed can make every weirdo or ignorant individual think and know what is really going on around us.. I still wonder who made marijuana illegal when it is a free gift of nature (God’s creation) yet chemical filled cigarettes is been sold all over the world. Marijuana don’t kill that’s why it really hurts me knowing that in my country (Nigeria) marijuana is illegal whereas millions of cigarette packs are been distributed everyday and each pack carries a double warning “The federal ministry of Health warns that smokers are liable to die young” Isn’t that the greatest irony ever??? Sometimes i begin to feel that there is something your world rulers want to think that they don’t want you to think..

…….. I’m balling outta here like 50 cent::: I blow it like it is supposed to be blown cuz im grown.. I know what is right and wrong… Marijuana is Right

June 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm
(14) Trylun says:

I really find it hard to believe that people on here dint fully understand about cancer
from smoking Tabasco only just fully come about in the late 1980′s after years of evidence.

I do love all of his music and weed back then in 1970′s to 1980′s was rely meld
and you would not get high after a big splif as you knead about 2.
Now adays you would get high just after 5 or more drags and end up stoned and not
doing anything for 2 or 3 hours and kids get wrong message.

He was a icon at his time and weed or marijuana is no where close to how strong it is
today,

June 23, 2011 at 12:04 am
(15) believer55 says:

hmmm i think alot of [peoplee blow pot out of the porportion. noone understands how religious he actually waS and the reasons he did….

July 7, 2011 at 7:52 pm
(16) jah says:

idiot on the top, fact is, smoking weed doenst increase lung cancer, so no matter hu u smoke like, dont stop. awriight

July 14, 2011 at 2:22 am
(17) anjoe says:

bob marley idol……!

August 1, 2011 at 1:57 am
(18) Sara says:

Megan, you WOULD be the type to write an article like this. Terrible. Worst. Article. Ever.

August 1, 2011 at 1:59 am
(19) Sara says:

Megan, you WOULD be the type to write an article like this and calling it an argument/debate. Worst. Article. Ever.

August 12, 2011 at 5:46 pm
(20) Bradarich says:

If people want to smoke weed, they should be able to smoke weed. Why does a group of people get to tell us that we cant put a plant in a piece, light it up and inhale it? it is our bodies, let us make our own choices…

August 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm
(21) Bob1 says:

No bob, It has been proven Marijuana does not lead to lung cancer, so dont try pulling that whole smoking marijuana will give you lung cancer crap.

September 10, 2011 at 8:35 pm
(22) adamman says:

i dnt think bob marly would care look wer it got him man man i wish he wer still here the 70s would b bak hell ya i miss the 70s man and dnt judge ppl man for wat they do and wat there kids do not all kids smoke ganja because of him dumb f@%$

October 19, 2011 at 1:22 pm
(23) kushagra says:

almost every rock fan associates rock n roll with drugs(marijuana),but its all about his music and message ,or else everyone who can play guitar and smoke pot will be bob marley…………well thats definitely untrue

December 2, 2011 at 7:50 am
(24) Floyd says:

Bob Marley’s music & way of life reflects a lot on how human beings in general should treat each other & live life. Marijuana being illegal is a crime in itself. One of the most beneficial substances on this planet.

Due to the way society operates, a dark stigma has been placed on Marijuana and the word ‘drug’ also has a bad stigma thrown to it. Unless you’ve tried it and given it time to experiment, you are so far away from judging and criticising this human right.

A herb that heightens your senses and the appreciation of life in general, with a particular emphasis on the small things in life. With no deaths and too hard to overdose, the simple fact that it can’t kill you is a huge benefit of the (stupidly) legal drugs alcohol & tobacco.

Marijuana is not addicted. It creates no physical addiction in your system. It just becomes down to having a good mindset. Just like eating too much junk food, when this becomes a problem (ie putting on weight) you tell yourself you need to stop for a bit & do more exercise. It’s the same with Marijuana, if you’ve been toking too much & you’re starting to be no as productive; just stop for a bit. Easy as can be.

..I could go on for days but I think I should cut this very short.

:)

December 3, 2011 at 6:20 am
(25) Bob marley says:

I lyk marijuana n i think u shud also try it… It takes away our stress n pain:)

December 3, 2011 at 6:24 am
(26) Bob marley says:

I smoke marijuana n follow marley as an iconic idol…. N kids dont try this its very harmful 2 health… Marijuana first give u rest then takes ur rest….?

December 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm
(27) mishti says:

do what you want, marijyona enlighten your senses that is true but smoke is harmful no dout but most of the experienced people say that smoking a joint is less harmful as compared to cigret without weed,
it is a Amar Buti in hindi means imortal weed. use it but at the same time respect it.

bob marley was the ideal & he tried to extract some thing from the weed.

tk cr.

March 28, 2012 at 5:26 am
(28) befanni says:

weed is the tits, so is bob marley, people who dont like it; dont do it. SNM.

April 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm
(29) Pedro says:

I agree. I see countless kids wearing marley shirts, I’m a fan of his music, so when I ask what’s your favorite marley song and they reply “I don’t know his music, I just like his cos hes always baked” it kinda really saddens me.

April 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm
(30) jorge says:

totally agree..it’s so much more about the weed than the music. I think bob was more about the music and he just got the stoner label because he pretty much was one. but the hate in the rasta stuff (read up) is probably the saddest thing about him. I’d be interested to hear his son’s take on it.

May 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm
(31) BOB MARLEYS GHOST says:

SMOKE HERB AND SAVE THE WORLD ONE JOINT AT A TIME

July 10, 2012 at 4:04 am
(32) bobs joint says:

smokin weed is super cool and feels great if i could i would hang out with bob all the time even if he didnt smoke and yes i do smoke so f*** off

July 10, 2012 at 4:10 am
(33) bobs joint says:

P.S. legalize it

August 7, 2012 at 8:31 am
(34) bob fan says:

weed certainly help to relax mind it gives peace for da mind nd bob had a motive to spread out peace so for spreading out peace u shud be in peace firstly.. i respect his views on weed nd ofcource m in love wid his songs.. weed shud be legal.

September 22, 2012 at 10:04 am
(35) Jake Truth says:

I think Bob Marley was about unity and acceptance, not criticism and judgement. He looked at people as people, not as faceless members or a class, middle or otherwise. Marijuana does offer truth, but it can be and often is abused. To treat it as a sacrament that connects people rather than a hedonistic entertainment vehicle that separates them is the correct thing to do, if you’re going to do it at all. I’m done with it myself, but I don’t judge other adults who use it. I suggest that if you are a kid who is considering it, wait until you’re 18. There is some new research suggesting that it’s not a great thing to take while your brain is still forming, unless you don’t mind saying goodbye to some IQ points. Marley was a prophet and a beautiful soul and we’re all better off because of him. Thank you Bob Marley.

December 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm
(36) ellen says:

Bob was the man…weed should be legal…booze should be illegal!!

February 23, 2013 at 4:15 pm
(37) sharad says:

Smoke a joint…..dnt brng out a point…bcoz a legend had gone wid dawn….roka rolla..

March 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm
(38) Thomas says:

I recently visited Jamiaca and spent 7 days outside the “resorts” traveling to Kingston, Negril, Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Spanish Town and many other locations. One topic of conversation I had with Many Jamiacans was wether or not Bob Marley was a “big” pot smoker. in short the answer was NO. Of the many people that have met Bob Marley they have never seen him smoking a joint in front of them or in concert.

As far as his illness was concerned it is noted that after visiting the hospitol and finding out he had cancer in his toe, Bob decided he could not cancel his tour and decided to wait to treat his illness outside of his doctors recommendation. His scheduled another tour and was not treated until over a year later at which time it was too late.

Bob was the kind of person who would not sign an autograph but rather would hang out with you playing soccer and just being around the people he supported and grew up with in Jamaica.

I truely believe when Bob smoked it was casually and not as it is portayed in media and vendors within Jamiaca. If you were to speak to any “Yadi” they would tell you the same.

Try searching google images for Bob Marley and weed and tell me how many images are recent and show Bob as a big pot smoker outside of modified images.

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