Ex-Microsoft manager works to create first US marijuana brand

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A former Microsoft executive is planning to create a marijuana enterprise that he hopes will dominate the legal cannabis industry during the “dot bong era” much like Starbucks dominates the coffee industry.

James Shively, a 45-year-old ex-corporate strategy manager at
Microsoft, is working out plans for a national marijuana brand
that he will sell at medical pot dispensaries in states where the
drug is legal.

Shively is currently asking investors for $10 million to start up
the business, which he hopes will become lucrative as marijuana
becomes decriminalized or legalized across the world. The
ex-Microsoft manager hopes to purchase pot dispensaries in
Colorado and Washington, where voters legalized recreational
marijuana use, and in California, where medical use is legal.

“It’s a giant market in search of a brand,” he told
Reuters. “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it
worldwide.”

The United Nations in 2005 estimated that the global marijuana
trade is worth $142 billion, and 18 US states have already
legalized it for medical use. Shively plans to legally import
high-quality weed for his business from Mexico.

“By creating the category of premium marijuana, we want to
position it similar to a fine cognac, a fine brandy, a fine
cigar,”
he told KIRO-TV.

The entrepreneur discussed his plans at a news conference in
downtown Seattleon Thursday, together with former
Mexican President Vicente Fox — a stark advocate of the
decriminalization of marijuana. Shively hopes that the former
president will serve as an advisor for the start-up, Reuters
reports.

“What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my
side instead of Chapo Guzman,”
said Fox, explaining that he
would rather see Shively sell marijuana legally than the Mexican
drug kingpin sell it illegally. “This is the story that has
begun to be written here.”

Shively’s plans conflict with US federal law, but he hopes to
circumvent the feds by buying local and state dispensaries where
marijuana is legal, as well as exercise a transparent business.

“If they want to come talk to me, I’ll be delighted to meet
with them,”
he told Reuters. “I’ll tell them everything
that we’re doing and show them all our books.”

Shively’s plans have been in the words for several months. In
December, he told KIRO-TV that he plans to name the business
after his great-great grandfather, Diego Pellicer, who was
allegedly the world’s largest marijuana producer in the
19thcentury.

“He was supplying hemp rope made from the marijuana tree to
the Spanish Armada during the Spanish-American War,
” Shively
told the station. “So I’ve got marijuana in my blood, so to
speak.”

Shively refers to the present as the “dot bong era”, and
says he came up with the idea for his business “after a few
bong hits.”

The businessman worked at Microsoft for six years until 2009, but
now believes that the pot industry will join the ranks of the
world’s largest corporations.

“The buzz is in the air,” he told the television station.
“This is a new industry in the making, and it’s going to be a
giant industry.”

This article originally appeared on: RT