A Starbucks for Pot? National Chain of Marijuana Stores in the Works

If one newly converted pot-smoking visionary has his way, the Washington-based company he created will become the Starbucks or Coca Cola of the cannabis industry.

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If one newly converted pot-smoking visionary has his way, the Washington-based company he created will become the Starbucks or Coca Cola of the cannabis industry. He even has plans to import marijuana from south of the border–currently illegal according to international law—and he’s apparently got the former president of Mexico on board.

Jamen Shively is probably not the kind of person you’d picture selling pot. He used to be a manager at Microsoft, and wears a suit and tie, a short preppy haircut, and nerdy glasses. He talks like a nerd too. When asked by the Seattle Times if he was worried about the federal government cracking down on his planned retail cannabis operations, Shively quoted the famous words of Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars“: “He said ‘Darth, if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.’”

Nonetheless, Shively says that cannabis is in his blood. He claims that his great grandfather, a government official in the Phillipines in the late 1890s when it was a Spanish colony, was the world’s largest grower of hemp at the time. Shively’s planned chain of retail marijuana stores is named after this great cannabis cultivator: Diego Pellicer (pronounced “Payee-Sayr”).

At a press conference in Seattle on Thursday, Shively announced plans for Diego Pellicer to become the first national retail brand focused on selling medical-use and adult-use (recreational) cannabis alike. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a unique moment in history,” Shively said. “The Berlin Wall of the prohibition cannabis is weak, and it is crumbling as we speak.”

Despite the fact that “the silence from our nation’s capital has been deafening,” and tons of uncertainties concerning the legality of his planned operations, Shively said that the acquisition of several professional cannabis dispensaries are in the works for Diego Pellicer, and that soon it will be a well-known retail brand along the West Coast.

The biggest controversy is that there are also international plans for the brand. Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox appeared next to Shively on Thursday, explaining that because the black market for drugs has caused violence and crime throughout Latin America, he was in favor of strictly regulated legal marijuana in the U.S.

(MORE: How American Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Marijuana)

“In Mexico, we welcome this initiative, because the cost of the war [on drugs] is becoming unbearable,” Fox said. He noted how the illegal drug market has hurt tourism and other Mexican businesses, and caused the deaths of thousands of people. “All this because our neighbor to the north represents such a gigantic consumer market” for marijuana. While he voiced many concerns about how marijuana laws and regulations would be enforced, and he stressed that all sorts of details would have to be negotiated to ensure safety and compliance, Fox’s appearance alone at the press conference was basically an endorsement of some kind of marijuana trade agreement between Mexico and the U.S.

Critics point out that Shively’s bold vision has an extremely long way to go before he’s able to create a viable business, let alone until his stores start producing millions in theoretical profits. “He needs to attract backers, to intimidate competitors, and to accustom people to the idea of mass marketing in the marijuana industry,” one member of the Seattle Times editorial board pointed out. “National branded marijuana has to go from being a farfetched idea to an ordinary idea, which means people have to think about it for a while.” The international trade aspect only makes Shively’s plans more complicated.

If his dream does become reality, though, Shively will have created something along the lines of a Starbucks for weed. The company prefers another parallel: “We will offer a premium-quality, hand-crafted product,” the Diego Pellicer website states. “Think of us as the ‘Davidoff of marijuana,’ with great attention given from genetics to the finished product.” (For those, like me, who’d never heard of Davidoff, it’s a brand of high-end tobacco products.) Taiwan-based Next Media Animation referred to Shively himself as the “Bill Gates of bud” in a goofy “news” video.

Shively sees Diego Pellicer’s core customers not as young pot smokers, but as older, wealthier enthusiasts who’ll pay top dollar for a premium product. “We’re focused on Baby Boomers — basically wealthy Baby Boomers,” Shively told a Seattle TV station. “It’s a $100 billion industry in search of a brand. Never in the history of capitalism — forget America, in the world — has such a giant vacuum existed.”

(MORE: How Much Will a Legal Marijuana Habit Cost You?)

Despite Shively’s supposed longstanding family ties to marijuana, smoking pot is fairly new to the budding entrepreneur. He explained to the Puget Sound Business Journal that, coming of age in the 1980s of “Just say no,” and “This is your brain on drugs,” he steered clear of the drug. About a year and a half ago, however, a colleague at Microsoft (and frequent pot smoker) convinced Shively to give it a try. Here’s how Shively described the experience:

“I tried it and I absolutely loved it. It’s like I was having the most amazing creative brainstorms. And (I was) seeing life and situations and possibilities in just a whole new light. It was like living in a whole new dimension. So I started consuming it about once a month, and I started sharing with people the experiences I was having, so I sort of became an amateur evangelist of cannabis.”

Shively’s enthusiasm for marijuana didn’t stop there. As more states passed laws approving the use of medicinal cannabis, and as Washington and Colorado voters gave the OK to legislation for recreational marijuana, Shiveley saw tremendous business opportunities. He’s regularly quoted saying that his retail pot operation will “mint more millions than Microsoft.”

What’s more, Shiveley isn’t satisfied simply with the idea that cannabis should be legal because it’s harmless. He believes pot is genuinely good for you: “I’m convinced that within five years, marijuana will come to be regarded as a health food,” he said.

(MORE: 187,000 Pounds of Marijuana Annually: Legal Pot Business to Bloom in Washington)

In which case, Shiveley is hoping to run the world’s biggest chain of an all-new breed of very special health food stores.

44 comments
WalterABradford
WalterABradford

Oh Marijuana, where art thou?  Coming to Texas in the next millennium? I expect not for here in The Lone Star State they'll put a .454 Casull in your hand at age 8 but won't want Marijuana any closer than the Governor's Mansion.  The first day of operations in Denver, Co. they raked in 1 Million in LEGAL sales.  They hailed that as a victory and for 37 stores across the state I guess that was pretty good but it does seem a on the light side to me.  Now what could Texas do with 2 million dollars a day in taxed sales per day and following all the currently prescribed Blue Laws?  A lot me thinks.  Would they want to?  Me doubts it.  Why?  Because it comes from an underworld endeavor started well over 2 centuries ago as an organized activity that spelled the end to mankind's morality and ethics.  You know, it is known that Christ, Jesus did a toke or two, now whether he inhaled or just held it in his mouth is beyond me.  I remember prohibition and crime went sky-high, murders, money laundering all in the name of sobriety in America.  The 18th Amendment went into effect in 1920 and lasted until 1933.  The nation spent more money enforcing the law of prohibition than they did on robbery, prostitution, fraud, murder (except those related  to prohibition), larceny, all together.  President Roosevelt at the worst of The Great Depression repealed Prohibition and now you can see the good 'ole boys leave church, go home, change their clothes and go for a drive in the old Ford F 150 and take a sip every 5 miles or so.  So all you Texans who need a job and want to work, write your legislator an tell them you want  cannabis in the loan star state so we can look up and then see two stars shining in the sky, not just one!

HerersAngels
HerersAngels

Why do reporters keep covering this guys story?  I have a novel idea... go interview actual dispensary operators and ask them if they've ever heard of this loon.  They have not because the loon has not opened a single location ANYWHERE!

JimmyRonquillo
JimmyRonquillo

this is the way of my life and many others it's a movement that the government cannot stop. marijuana brings peace for many pupil

plainjame
plainjame

It won't happen.

/the destruction of America after homosexual marriage law passes will prevent this business from taking off.

Champagne
Champagne

Is it Shively or Shiveley? This article is mixed-up. I think the writer-/blogger had a few too many Diego's.

ChrisLin
ChrisLin

People active in the wa state weed trade think this guy is a joke. Premium marijuana is the oldest selling tactic ever.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

What sucks about Johnny Businessman here is that he's in it for the money. Even if it top quality he wants to charge the most he can which is really not what the cannabis industry should be about.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Lolwut. Starbucks for pot? Not with the quality of bud shown in the pic. People also need to realize that poopy weed can and does grow anywhere, not just down south. Mexico has some of the best quality in the world, do your research. Bobs homeland definitely

brenro12
brenro12

Billions and billions served.

therealdude
therealdude

I love that states are starting to legalize marijuana and take the industry out of the hands of thugs and murders and put it in the hands of botanists and legit businessmen, I have a bad feeling about importing it from Mexico. While it's legal in Washington and Colorado, it's still illegal in other states, which still makes the US a viable market for the cartels. I don't see the cartels allowing him to just grow his weed in peace. Nor do I see cartels growing it for him with the kind of standard of quality he's trying to promote. Sadly, what I can envision is a possible chainsaw massacre of his workers in Mexico with a narco warning message attached to someone's skull with a screwdriver.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Tax the daylights out of those stores.

kathleenchippi
kathleenchippi

As the fed's lock op sick MMJ caregivers in legal MMJ states for 5-10 years (this week, last week and in the following week). 

kathleenchippi
kathleenchippi

Funny how the first 'self proclaimed' "National (USA) Brand" of cannabis will be imported from Mexican drug cartels by a 1%er.  Alice in Wonderland.......and the 99% still possible as slave labor in private, for profit prison's for much less of a "crime".    This is sick.  So it's a life ruining crime for the 99% who might get 'busted' by  Obummer's police farce and it's national breaking news of a multi million dollar branding of a 1%er. 

mexiculture
mexiculture

You do know that Fox is the ex president, don't you? Please say yes, my confidence in journalists is fading.

StoptheMadness
StoptheMadness

You can smoke a whole garbage bag of hemp, and it won't make you high. Yet hemp is classified as a schedule 1 narcotic???

Can you say INERTIA?

Now excuse me while I put through this petition to ban Yorkshire Terriers because I feel Pit Bull Terriers are dangerous.

StoptheMadness
StoptheMadness

Amount of alcohol which could potentially cause death from overdose -15 to 30 beers.

Marijuana needed to overdose - 1500 pounds in 15 minutes.

StoptheMadness
StoptheMadness

"Marijuana, in it's natural form, is one of the safest, most therapeutic substances known to man".

Francis Young - DEA Judge!!!

MontereyBud
MontereyBud

While I'm truly excited to be alive at this point in history… And witnessing marijuana's liberation from ignorance. Until they ensure the average Americans' right to cultivate this plant, I'm not going to get overly excited about some multi-millionaire figuring out a way to corner his chunk of the new "green economy." Legalize it, tax it - if you want… Just make sure I can grow it – this is nature's medicine not big pharmacy. http://bit.ly/Star-Buds

slcmcguire
slcmcguire

Remember, cannabis is still insanely categorized as schedule 1 on the Federal level. Only vote for candidates that have a record of opposing prohibition. End the war on drugs and let the prisoners of war free. The president and governors should pardon them immediately.


Ignacio_Barraza
Ignacio_Barraza

Just to be clear Vicente Fox is not the president of Mexico and has very little influence with the current government and party in power 

patricksmyth
patricksmyth

This is already in the works in Canada - Ross' Gold is going to be doing a chain of stores

Bogusjoe
Bogusjoe

Starbucks started with great coffee.Mexican marijuana has the reputation of dirt weed.Anyone who offers British Columbia or California grown will have all the customers.

JasonMcKenzie
JasonMcKenzie

If one were to plant an oregano plant at the same time as one cannabis plant and give them equal care the cannabis wil have much heavier flowering tops and a larger amount of oil will be collected from the cannabis tops. I can legally purchase oregano oil for $10.00 a bottle. How much is a bottle of cannabis oil > $ 1,000. If it were truely legal there would be cannabis oil for < $10.00 a bottle. Mabee then it would be affordable to use cannabis oil topically for arthritis. If we are going to call it medicine lets make it less expensive than other cancer drugs.

hsknyc
hsknyc

it's usually the rich dbags that make a difference.  not the poor dbags bitching and moaning about the rich dbags ripping people off.

Don't even know the guy, but if he's helping the legalization process, all power to him.

DanW
DanW

It's about time. After decades of lies and propaganda, people are making a stand. Good luck Jamen Shively !!! I have smoked pot for over 40 years and I will never stop !!!

KevinHunt
KevinHunt

I don't like the idea of importing more Mexican schwag.  I do like the idea of Mexico legalizing it.  We perpetuate the cycle of violence in Mexico with our failed drug war.

MikeSmith4
MikeSmith4

www.thehealingcentermedicalclinic.org

MikeSmith4
MikeSmith4

Another RICH DBAG trying to ripoff people!

WalterABradford
WalterABradford

@HerersAngels Whoever he is probably pays for the "stories" to be written to pump up his status, keep competition at bay and pumping up his self esteem.  What he is talking about doing is a 20 year away project at best, I'll be dead so it's really academic for me! hahahahaha   Take care!

LazyLightning
LazyLightning

@MuricanBob It's a business.  That's what businesses do.  It's not a charity for potheads.  This guy is willing to risk his personal capital in exchange for the possibility of making money.  There is nothing wrong with this.  Do you work for free, or do you expect to get paid for your efforts?

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Bobs homeland (Murica) definitely has more quality growers though ;)

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Nothing but ignorance. Funny, but mostly sad.

soup831
soup831

@StoptheMadness Long before that 1500lb is reached, the subject will be incapable (or unwilling) to continue.

MuricanBob
MuricanBob

Not too often do you get people on here that know their stuff. Thank you, sincerely.

BobWilliamKnight
BobWilliamKnight

@JasonMcKenzie thats the point .once its legal poor people will be able to afford it as medicine and  it will be cheap to smoke

420_college
420_college

@MikeSmith4 don't hate the player, hate the game.  this America, land of entrepreneurship.

ChristopherMorton
ChristopherMorton

@MikeSmith4 He may be doing that, but he is pushing for something that could tilt the scales on acceptance at the federal level for both Mexico and the US.    F**k you.   

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

@MuricanBob

no, but we get lots of trolls like  you who think you're some sort of genius and comment on 20 different posts without ever saying anything of substance.  we get it. you like to smoke and you think the current laws are stupid. welcome to the club.