Is brand-name pot more than a pipe dream?
Jamen Shively has a strategy to create a Starbucks of marijuana. He has some major support and is looking for investors.
You've heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. But is the U.S. ready for Big Pot? At least one businessman thinks so, and he says he's going to produce the first commercial, large-scale brand of marijuana, which he hopes eventually to import, legally, from Mexico.
Voters in Colorado and Washington state last year agreed to legalize the recreational use of cannabis for adults. On Thursday, Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft (MSFT) executive, told reporters his Seattle business wants to become to medical and recreational marijuana what Starbucks (SBUX) is to coffee: a dominating brand that leads its industry. (Microsoft owns and publishes moneyNOW, an MSN Money site.)
"It's a giant market in search of a brand," Shively was quoted by Reuters. "We would be happy if we get 40% of it worldwide."
Marijuana is still illegal in the U.S. under federal law, but a 2005 U.N. report estimated the global pot trade at $142 billion.
Shively, 45, is looking for $10 million in startup funds from investors for his Diego Pellicer brand -- named after Shively's great-great-grandfather, a Spaniard who produced hemp and marijuana in the late 1800s.
In an interview last year with KIRO-TV in Seattle, Shively said his brand won't be cheap. But "by creating the category of premium marijuana, we want to position it similar to a fine cognac, a fine brandy, a fine cigar. Something to be savored and enjoyed, in small quantities by responsible adults."
Also appearing with Shively on Thursday was Vincente Fox. The ex-president of Mexico, former executive for Coca-Cola (KO) and advocate for marijuana's decriminalization, Fox called Shively's plans a game changer.
"What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my side instead of Chapo Guzman," Fox said, referring to Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. "This is the story that has begun to be written here."
According to The Associated Press, Shively will work with a Washington state chain of medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as similar businesses in California and Colorado. Although his plans are likely to come up against federal laws on conspiracy and distribution of an illegal substance, Shively says, his operation is "a conspiracy to obey the law."
"Neither Diego Pellicer nor our investors are exposed to any significant risk, in terms of criminal risk," he said Thursday. "In terms of criminal risk, that is vastly mitigated. . . . We're making strategic investments, but we're making them in such a way that they are not in violation of either federal or state law."
We'd suggest as a slogan for Shively's new enterprise: "When you say bud . . ."
But that one is already taken.
Maybe these guys should do a little market research and figure out that most people in CO an WA do not like low grade outdoor Mexican weed.
Another form of Cartel, do not trust his scheme, Close the NAFTA. ASAP Don't support 'high grade mexican', Keep North America Green. Keep the Cartels Out of The USA. (Oh yes I did read the article, as well as interpret it's true meaning, so keep your comments! I don't want to hear em!)
Great, another sociopath, using cheap Mexican labor, instead of Americans, to grow pot in Mexico, instead of the Cartels. I suppose he expects the Cartels will welcome them with open arms! Or will Shively hire Halliburton and Blackwater (Xe) to protect the crops with mercenaries?
When greed is more important than the pesticides, the polluted Mexican water, and the lack of sanitary conditions in Mexico, Shively will, of course, be just another outsourcer, who won't employ Americans to do the work, in America, while he will have to buy the legislation to deliver his product across the border, since it is still a federal offense, while better quality Marijuana can be grown in anyone's back yard who can grow weeds!
Better quality, my ****! You mean, better for Shively, since he can hide the profits in Mexico, while American taxpayers will have to subsidize his wealth with a tax refund, because his plan is to sell it across the border for pennies on the dollar more than he paid himself with his LLC, to purchase it for hundreds of times more than it actually cost to produce the first time, placing all that profit in a hidden bank, where it will never get taxed.
Thought I would point that little bit of truth out to those that may not know.
It's really only a matter of time before the Feds give in and finally let it become legal.
The majority of Americans already want it. It will be great source of taxable revenue and the gov't knows this.
Keep the Marijuana industry here in th US. Calif grows some of the best in the world already.
Just as private Ca vineyards produce some of the best wines, let our own fertile lands legally produce high quality cannabis. Can you imagine the jobs it would open up? Let Mexico enjoy their own
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