So far, the smart money seems to be on Privateer Holdings: a Seattle-based private equity firm that secured a 30-year licensing deal to use Bob Marley's name and likeness to sell "heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains" and other Marley-branded merchandise. In a recent funding round, Privateer Holdings raised $75 million, bringing its total pot to $82 million and making it the best-funded player in the fledgling marijuana industry.
Privateer's success is thanks at least in part to its licensing deal with Marley's family. The firm's Marley Natural brand launched last year and aims to start selling its products worldwide by the end of 2015. Leveraging Marley's fame is a bit of a no-brainer for the industry. Not only do people rightly associate Marley with marijuana use, but the reggae icon's image has already been used to sell everything from coffee to clothes. In fact, Forbes estimates that Marley was the fifth-highest paid dead celebrity last year, with postmortem earnings of around $20 million in 2014 alone.