Unlike some of their spliff-smoking reggae brethren, Rebelution prefer to vape. “It’s a lot easier to talk and to sing after using the vape pens, as opposed to flowers,” says the Grammy-nominated band’s lead singer, Eric Rachmany.
With this in mind, Rebelution have joined other pot-friendly artists like Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson and 311 with their own line of customized ganja products. The band teamed up with California producer FlavRx to create two specific strains for their pen: the indica Cali-O and the sativa Sour Tsunami. Both come in the form of cartridges that screw into a battery component. They’re currently available in California dispensaries that stock FlavRx’s products.
Rebelution decided to partner with FlavRx because bassist Marley D. Williams is friends with the San Diego-based company. “They’re big fans of the band,” Rachmany explains. “We had our eye on them for a while. They have a good product.”
Another plus is FlavRx’s oil doesn’t contain glycol, a toxic ingredient found in many similar cartridges. Cannabis is oil is a concentrated form of marijuana. Glycol is often used to dilute the oil in cartridges.
“We’re pretty particular with what we’re putting in the oils,” Rebelution’s manager Dean Raise chimes in. “It’s not just any kind of weed we’re throwing in there.”
For Raise and the band members, it’s about more than just finding ancillary products to cash in with. “This is definitely medicine,” says Raise, whose sister battled cancer with chemotherapy treatments. “We’ve seen friends and family go through it. It reduces nausea and relieves physical pain, and it’s a good way to relax. You don’t need to take chemicals like Valium or Xanax. If you find the right herb, you can use it as a medicine in all different ways. You can also use it recreationally to get into an altered state of mind.”
While acknowledging cannabis’ medical value, Rachmany says the new product line is “for everyone. I’m all for it recreationally. We talk about the medicinal uses of marijuana and cannabis in our music. For me it’s been a source of inspiration and creativity. When people ask me what does it do for you, I tell them that it makes me feel in tune with my body.”
He continues: “I discovered this listening to music, particularly reggae music. Obviously cannabis is a huge part of the Rasta religion. I grew up thinking cannabis was a drug. I found it to be a very different story by listening to reggae music, and actually looking into it some more and discovering that that wasn’t the case.”
Rebelution plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from pen sales to cannabis research and legalization organizations like NORML. “Since the beginning of this band we’ve taken a stance as educators about cannabis,” Rachmany says. “I think these vape pens are a great way to be introduced to it. There’s been tons of propaganda and misinterpretation about cannabis over the years.”
Adds Raise: “There’s no reason why cannabis shouldn’t be legal. It helps so many people and it harms nobody.”
Rebelution also has a line of beer products hitting stores in partnership with Rock Brothers Brewery in Tampa, Fla.; their Feeling Alright IPA, named after a Rebelution song (it’s on the 2007 Courage to Grow album), is currently being sold in stores in the Southeast. Rock Brothers also has 311 Amber Ale and Hootie’s Home Grown Ale (for Hootie & the Blowfish) in their product line.
“It’s a multi-tiered idea and plan,” says Raise. “The band is completely independent. They don’t have a major label or major radio… These are things Rebelution is passionate about. Rebelution is a lifestyle and these products reflect that.”
Coming soon from Rebelution are marijuana strains (flower, not oil), a hemp lotion, and moisturizer and CBD roll-ons to reduce pain. (CBD is THC’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid cousin.) “We’re looking into all these different things,” Raise explains.
As far as new music, Rebelution are currently writing songs for their 2018 follow-up to 2016’s Grammy-nominated Falling into Place. Their 30-date Good Vibes summer tour kicks off on June 14.
Rachmany will surely carry a supply of Rebelution pens during the cross-country jaunt. “I use it probably about 95% of the time,” as opposed to joints or the aforementioned Jamaican-style spliffs or cones, he says. “You eliminate a lot of the carcinogens with a concentrate like cannabis oil. I’m a big fan of it.”