Ex-Microsoft exec to create the Starbucks of marijuana?
Jamen Shively, a former corporate strategy manager for Redmond, decides he can have a happier life: creating a brand of pot for the good people of Washington state and beyond.
When a product becomes a brand, it brings with it emotional values that seep into your pores and make you feel good all over.
This is something Jamen Shively hopes to do for a product that has something of a start -- in that it already seeps into your pores and makes you feel good all over.
Or so I am told.
Shively, once upon a time, was a corporate strategy manager for Microsoft. Now the 45-year-old wants to create the nation's first brand of marijuana.
His idea, as he explained to the Seattle Times, is to buy his own dispensaries in pot-friendly state such as Washington and Colorado and begin his long march toward a branded fortune.
His company is to be called Diego Pellicer -- this a homage to Shively's great-grandfather, who was once governor of Cebu in the Philippines.
His plan is to import from Mexico. Indeed, former president of the country Vicente Fox appeared with Shively at a Seattle news conference Thursday (video embedded).
Fox said at the news conference: "What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my side instead of Chapo Guzman." Guzman is one of Mexico's most notorious drug lords.
Some might wonder, though, whether there might be one or two legal obstacles.
Federal law is still entirely against selling or possession of pot. However, Shively claims he is seeking $10 million of investment. He also insists that he has a way that he can keep investors safe from the SEC's suspicious clutches.
When asked what would happen if the feds decided to pay him a menacing call, he told the Seattle Times: "He said, 'Darth, if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.'"
Oddly, Shively claims to have smoked pot only for the last 18 months.
Some seem to react as if he's been smoking longer -- or that his pot is particularly effective.
For example, Washington state's own marijuana consultant, Mark Kleiman told Reuters: "It's very hard for me to understand why anybody seriously interested in being in the marijuana business, which after all is against the federal law, would so publicly announce his conspiracy to break that law."
Shively, though, likens his project to the times when the Berlin Wall came down. He believes things will go his way and that he is a pioneer in the obvious.
He does, though, have quite some ambition. "We would be happy if we get 40 percent of (the market) worldwide," he told Reuters.
Wouldn't he be richer than Bill Gates if he got that?