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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seattle Entrepreneur Plans $100 Million National Chain of Pot Stores

Posted by on Thu, May 30, 2013 at 3:55 PM

VICENTE FOX The former Mexican president says legitimate business investment in the US pot industry will bring a solution to Mexicos huge crime problem,
  • DH
  • VICENTE FOX The former Mexican president was on hand to say the company's legitimate "business investment" in the US pot industry "will bring a solution to Mexico's huge crime problem."

Jamen Shively, CEO of Seattle-based Diego Pellicer, announced plans this afternoon to invest $100 million over the next three years in the burgeoning "social marijuana" market with a national chain of marijuana stores. In doing so, the former Microsoft manager is not only taking a page from the Howard Shultz playbook for building Starbucks, he's also testing the Obama administration's tolerance for flouting federal drug prohibition.

"Yes, we are Big Marijuana," Shively, 45, said unabashedly about ambitions to "be the most recognized brand in an industry that does not exist yet." And in doing so, politically, Shively would also create the first consolidated economic engine that advocates for legalization.

At a press conference in downtown's tallest skyscraper, Shively said he and business partners will begin in Washington State and Colorado, where rules for legal pot come online this year, and wait as voters pick off prohibition across the country. Flanked by lawyers, a state lawmaker, and former Mexico president Vicente Fox, Shively said he is a "couple weeks" from an initial $10 million milestone, and within three years, he fully expects to open—some medical marijuana and some recreational marijuana—a dozen branded stores in Washington State, another dozen stores in Colorado, and as many as hundreds in California (a state where only medical marijuana is currently legal but where voters are widely expected to legalize recreational pot in 2016).

A glimpse into the the commercialized pot market was evident in a menu of marijuana strains that hung in the back of the room, designed to capture the classic Latin American esthetic of tequila or cigar marketing, promoting future products with the gusto of a fast-food signboard: The "exclusive hand-selected variants" featured familial homages like "Diego Reserva" (the firm, Diego Pellicer, is named after Shively's great grandfather) to local nods like "Juan de Fuca," also the name of a waterway northwest of Seattle.

Despite connotations to Big Tobbacco, he says the reputation of Big Marijuana "is not a problem for us. We are honored to have this place in history. We intend to be the number one brand in both markets"—both medical and recreational marijuana—"on a worldwide basis."

The project will begin by re-branding the Northwest Patient Resource Center and other local medical cannabis outlets, and soon stores will open under recognizable franchises across several states.

Keeping his headquarters in Seattle, near Green Lake, Shively says that means employing about 1,000 people locally and 10,000 people nationwide. And sounding like Big Hamburger, Shively says he predicted "tens of millions" of customers will be served.

Former Mexican president Fox star-studded the presser to argue Shively's investment in the United States' pot market, an estimated $100 billion industry, is about more than lucrative returns. Fox said the business was "making history" by transferring the cannabis revenues from murderous drug cartels to licensed corporations A legitimate "business investment... will bring a solution to Mexico's huge crime problem," Fox told me. "Criminals won't be able to get the money because the money will be in the hands of people like Jamen."

State representative Roger Goodman (D-45) described the infusion of cash as a "win-win for everyone, including the courageous entrepreneurs. America is watching... and the federal government better back off."

But federal law enforcement is particularly punitive when multiple people collaborate to manufacture or distribute drugs, and the Controlled Substances Act prohibits interstate investments in the drug trade. So will the federal government look at this operation as anything short of a conspiracy?

Shively tried to turn that question around, saying, "It is a federal conspiracy to obey the law." He insisted his plan for a nationwide chain of pot stores is a "mitigated" investment risk but was mum on details of how finances were structured (like many business, in which funding arrangements are private). That said, Shively noted, cannabis sold in Washington must be grown in Washington and all parties would adhere closely to the laws of respective states.

That caution was echoed by John Davis, CEO of the Northwest Patient Resource Center, who emphasized running operations to the letter of the law. "By showing our success here, we will make people comfortable with moving into new markets," Davis said.

 

Comments (41) RSS

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2
Ugh. I hope he fails miserably. What we need is a homegrown (pun fully intended) marijuana industry. These guys are just big heavy weights working to monopolize the budding (again, intended) marijuana marked and prevent it from having any local flavor, charm or control. It just reeks (... intended) of corporate sliminess and sterility. I predict the 1,000 jobs will be mostly low-wage with flimsy to non-existent benefits. Most of the money generated by their retail shops will leave the state to further fill the already full coffers of rich bankers and investors. I already feel like organizing a boycott of these assholes.
Posted by screed on May 30, 2013 at 4:11 PM · Report this
3
And, I bet if these guys are successful and control the market like they want to, they'll squeeze the producers and processors, pocketing the additional profits. A 'win-win'... for whom? Yea, a win for the investors, and a win for the executives. The rest of us, eh, not so much.
Posted by screed on May 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Dougsf 4
Dispensaries, under current California law, must be nonprofit. I'm sure he's been hard at work to change this—it's going to be an interesting battle.

It'll be interesting to see what sort of backlash, if any, the idea of "big marijuana" causes. The CA Supreme Court just upheld a ruling allowing municipalities to deny business permits to, or ban outright, 'clinics' as they see fit.
Posted by Dougsf on May 30, 2013 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 5
I like the deep pockets. We need somebody to lobby against prohibition for a change.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on May 30, 2013 at 4:24 PM · Report this
Lose-Lose 6
Wow. Big news indeed.
Posted by Lose-Lose on May 30, 2013 at 4:29 PM · Report this
biffp 7
This should be enough to draw the unwanted attention of DC. Can I sell these guys my t-shirt design (pictured to the left)?
Posted by biffp on May 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM · Report this
Simply Me 9
We can have a Starbucks of weed as long as there is also the Micro-brew of weed. Direct Trade, organic, homegrown, non-toxic, green. The more the marier.
Posted by Simply Me on May 30, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
10
heh, don't drop the soap!
Posted by Agrippa on May 30, 2013 at 4:44 PM · Report this
11
It's very odd that we haven't heard yet from the Feds on this, one way or the other. I can only imagine the arguments and power struggles going on between the Old Guard Prohibitionist set and those that see it as time for a major change. It will be great fun to watch right wing heads explode when the "Choom Gang" Obama administration decides to leave CO and WA alone.
Posted by organicmechanic on May 30, 2013 at 4:45 PM · Report this
Fifty-Two-Eighty 12
Well, good luck with that in Colorado. Our law requires producers, distributors and sellers to be residents of the state.
Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty http://www.nra.org on May 30, 2013 at 4:49 PM · Report this
merry 13
This is pretty exciting! I think such a corporation would definitely help with the crime problem in Mexico - as well as help all us regular Amurkan stoners with our regular Amurkan stonage.

It's just such a wide-open brand new frontier, and there are FORTUNES to be made... It's like it's the 19th century again and a few far-sighted individuals are able to see that this 'iron horse' thing is a going to be a real winner...

Who will be the 21st century's Pot Carnegies and Weed Vanderbilts??????
Posted by merry on May 30, 2013 at 4:55 PM · Report this
14
if that man is 45 i'm a bucket of rock salt.
Posted by Adrian Ryan on May 30, 2013 at 5:05 PM · Report this
15
#14 - the man in the picture is former Mexican President Fox, not the Mr. Shively quoted in the article.
Posted by catsnbanjos on May 30, 2013 at 5:18 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 16
@13 Yes, there are fortunes to be made. Large fortunes to those that already have small ones. Did you note the $10 mil investment, with the goal of $100 mil total?

Fortunes, indeed.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on May 30, 2013 at 5:31 PM · Report this
merry 17
@ 16 - I did, indeed, notice all those zeros. What speaks loudest in this country? The accumulated weight of all the zeros to the left of the decimal point... End this goddamned stupid prohibition on The Weed now.

I like what @5 & @9 have to say.....
Posted by merry on May 30, 2013 at 5:57 PM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 19
Ditto. The pot market needs to be like beer. Cheap shitty mass produced stuff for cheap, and also nice high-end microbrew as well.
Posted by Dr_Awesome on May 30, 2013 at 6:15 PM · Report this
TomJohnsonJr 22
Wiki says Fox headed Coca Cola for all of Latin America for decades. The man knows from distrubution.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on May 30, 2013 at 11:11 PM · Report this
23
Seems like Washington would have an advantage over landlocked Colorado since you could ship bales of pot via cargo ships from Western Mexican ports to the Ports of Seattle and Tacoma and you would not have to cross the state lines of other non-legal states.

If small enough, maybe even current cruise lines could handle the loads if they are allowed to carry some freight.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on May 30, 2013 at 11:29 PM · Report this
south downtown 24
this will be a clusterfuck. pass the doochie...
Posted by south downtown on May 31, 2013 at 1:13 AM · Report this
watchout5 26
Sounds like I'll be buying pot on the black market for a long time. Oh well, better than nothing.
Posted by watchout5 http://www.overclockeddrama.com on May 31, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
LunaHash 28
Corporate Weed!!!
Less THC,
Less TLC,
Bigger price!!!
Posted by LunaHash on May 31, 2013 at 9:02 AM · Report this
LunaHash 29
CORPORATE WEED!!
Less THC.
Less TLC.
Bigger Price.
BUY NOW!
Posted by LunaHash on May 31, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this
30
#23, try reading the entire story again, this time for comprehension.
Posted by Jim98122x on May 31, 2013 at 9:13 AM · Report this
31
The first $50 million will be used to purchase enough members of congress who will trip over one another to do their part to legalize marijuana on the Federal level.

One more example that shows how it’s never really about facts, truth, right, or wrong and always about dopamine. Nothing triggers dopamine better than expectations of making money because money can be converted into all of the most powerful dopamine triggers, including heroin, cocaine, grass, bets (for gamblers), votes (for politicians), food, sex, safety, power, acceptance, approval, esteem, status, and expectations of making more money.

DopamineProject.org

Posted by Charles Lyell on May 31, 2013 at 9:18 AM · Report this
32
I just read that Colorado plans to put a total of 39% tax on marijuana. I believe this is a very bad idea. If these millionaires and states believe they are going to make a fortune think again. The country has a robust blackmarket for marijuana. If the price of legal marijuana is higher than the blackmarket marijuana I believe people will continue buying from the blackmarket. Remember that most marijuana users are criminals under the national law and have been using and buying blackmarkest marijuana for decades, so why pay huge taxes on something you can buy cheaper? Another thing is there has been talk of regulating the THC content of marijuana. Again, if the state believe they are going to sell poor quality, low potency marijuana to the public thank again. Ounce again, the greedy neoliberal government thugs are trying there best to make marijuana smokers pay for the inequities of a corrupt government that believe humans are commodities!
Posted by poorkitty on May 31, 2013 at 9:23 AM · Report this
33
HEY PEEPS!
Go to:
mypotbroker.com
Posted by My Pot Broker on May 31, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
34
Well, I wonder when Monsanto will create a super-potent, and possibly detrimental to our health, GMO Franken-drug MJ? It seems that we are about to witness a war between heartless greedy corporations and vicious greedy criminals.

To make legalization effective as a means of undercutting the ultra-violent free-enterprise loving criminals who now control the illicit drug market, the stuff needs to be as widely available, as potent, and considerably less expensive, than it is now. Any taxation that results in raising the price to market-values as of now, for example, will result in a black-market and a price war between avaricious Machiavellian corporations and mad-dog criminals. This would also happen in the legal stuff is less potent than the illegal product.

Neither free=market loving parties would voluntarily keep the prices down and the quality up. For any social good to result, however, the mad-dogs need to be priced out of the competition. The corporations, however, will not want to sell the stuff for anything less than what they can get for it. They are after MAXIMUM profits and so we have a problem. Governments need to control the selling-price of the newly legal drugs if they want to put the criminals out of business. Best scenario: Government supplied quality product sold at pharmacies, over the counter, at price-points low enough to discourage a black market.
Posted by Lawrence Teagarden on May 31, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
LunaHash 36
@33
Completely agree, but they are still going to try.
Why? Because there are idiots out there who will fall for it, all they need to do is market it with a few half naked women and men, sit and watch people buy it for some stupid reason.
As for regulating THC, they really have no excuse to (but they will or at least try), not one person has died or OD'd from THC.
Posted by LunaHash on May 31, 2013 at 9:53 AM · Report this
37
My Mexican girlfriend points out that Vicente Fox was something like Mexico's Dan Quayle - when he was president, each time he spoke to the public they had someone on hand to explain him "what the president was TRYING to say was..." - and she thinks his recent embrace of marijuana legalization could explain a lot about him.
Posted by redemma on May 31, 2013 at 10:47 AM · Report this
38
Remember this. John Kennedy had ships loaded with whiskey sitting offshore waiting for prohibition to end. That money created a legacy of political power.... Nice model to follow if you know the change is coming.....
Posted by pupuguru http://www.godsweed.org on May 31, 2013 at 10:55 AM · Report this
41
Shively is an idiot. Of course he is comparing his business to Starsucks, Mexican weed sucks too so they can go hand in hand. Don't you think that nationally televising that you are going to take the pot business from drug kingpins probably isn't the wisest idea. The yuppie little microsoft boy won't last too long up against that, he may have $ but they have cartels & weapons. Typical arrogant, ignorant microsoft fool.
Posted by mmjmike on May 31, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
42
This will most definitely go viral and there will be Petitions to stop this greedy knucklehead. I mean SERIOUSLY Mr. Entrepreneur - stay in your OWN yard - play with your fellow billionaires - leave the rest of us ALONE. You have enough money - and your ego is obviously quite high. Just stay in your own world please.

Listen folks - there WILL be Petitions against this. Please sign and share them with everyone you know. We MUST STOP HIM before he even gets started.
Posted by lyndagrand on May 31, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
Virginia 1776 47
I haven't smoked any pot in a while. It's illegal here in Virginia and outrageously over priced when you buy street shit which is typically Mexican, which we all know is bullshit weed. Better just to chill or drink the legal poison they allow me. The tobacco farmers in my state, North Carolina, etc would grow some crazy good shid and profit heartily, which would definitely improve our economy here in the South. I really don't like the idea of BIG MARIJUANA COMPANIES. But when profits are to be made and big money gets in, that how the world changes now. I'm sure the'll outlaw growing your own. But try to stop us. I live in the county adjacent to Franklin. Still make shine there.
Posted by Virginia 1776 on May 31, 2013 at 4:38 PM · Report this
50
Old news, I sent this in as a Slog tip back in December but nobody picked it up!

Read this:
http://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/183…
Posted by Ablurican on June 1, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
51
Oh man, I saw a story about this guy awhile ago, sent it in to Slog tips back in December and nobody picked it up!

http://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/183…
Posted by Ablurican on June 1, 2013 at 12:18 PM · Report this
52
This is awesome. He can take the legal heat and spend the money and small businesses can operate in the shadow.
Posted by ishf on June 1, 2013 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Timmytee 53
If anybody ought to know about making big $$ from marijuana, it's a former Pres. of Mexico!
Posted by Timmytee on June 1, 2013 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Timmytee 54
If anybody ought to know about making big $$ from marijuana, it's a former Pres. of Mexico!
Posted by Timmytee on June 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM · Report this
Timmytee 55
. . . sorry . . .
Posted by Timmytee on June 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM · Report this
57
There goes the only $20. an hour slave labour trade. You kids have seen your hay day! Now you gonna have to get a real job for $8. An hour ... Befor tips of course:)
Posted by Cannabis Rag on June 2, 2013 at 11:18 PM · Report this
58
HORSE POO …A BUNCH IF BS!…THE MEXICAN CARTEL DOES NOT SUPPLY CALIFORNIA WITH MARIJUANA ANYMORE….MAYBE SPEED, WHO AM I KIDDING THERES NO MAYBE ABOUT IT, ITS WELL KNOWN THAT THEY ARE SUPPLYING THAT POSION AND THAT IS WHERE THE DRUG CARTELS ARE MAKING THE MONEY. MARIJUANA HAS NOT BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR RICHLY LINNED POCKETS. I HAVNT SEEN ANY MEXI BRICK WEED IN 15 YEARS. ALL WE GOT IS LOCAL CHRONIC AND SO MUCH OF IT WE HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING ANY MARKET AT ALL. EVERYBODY AND THEIR MOTHER IS GROWING IN NOR CAL. TRUST ME NOBODY IS BUYING ANY POT FROM MEXICAN CARTEL. THIS IS A BUNCH OF BS. THEY ARE TAKING OUR SMALL BUSSINESS AWAY AND LITTERALLY TAKING THE MONEY OUT OF THE HANDS OF THE HARD WORKING EX CONTRACTOR/TRADESMAN, YOU KNOW THE BLUE COLLAR WHITE FOLKS WHO CANT OWN HOMES ANYMORE, THE AVERAGE AMERRICAN FALLING INTO BANKRUPTCY, WITH OUT STEADY WORK, WE THAT STRUGGLE DESPERATLY TO MAKE A BUCK AND OUT OF THAT DESPERATION WE HAVE ALL TURN TO GROWING DOPE AND NOW THEY WANT TO TAKE THSAT AWAY TOO. F THIS. AND WHY WE PUTTING OUR MONEY INTO THE HANDS OF MEXICO? HAVN'T THEY STOLEN ENOUGH OF OUR JOBS CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY ALL UNDERMINED BY CHEAPER MEXICAN WAGES , ISN'T THAT ENOUGH, NOW THEY GOT TO TAKE THIS TOO. BEING WHITE IN AMERICA SURE DOES SUCK THESE DAYS. WE ARE THE MINORITY. WE GET NO AIDE OR SPECIAL PROGRAMS. WE WORK HARD WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE AND WE PAY TAXES OUT THE A…AND EVERYWHERE I LOOK THERE ARE "MINIORITIES" LIVING SO MUCH BETTER THAN ME. I MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY TO QUALIFY HOWEVER I DONT MAKE ENOUGH TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF WITH OUT THE LOCAL MMJ MARKET. NOW THEY GONNA TAKE IT AWAY GIVE THE MONEY TO BIG BUSSINESS BANKS AND THE 1% AND THEN THROW SOME AT MEXICO, MEANWHILE I MAKE LESS THAN A MEXICAN DAY LABOROR YOU'D FIND DOWN AT THE LUMBERYARD . IM READY TO START A REVOLUTION AND ROLL SOME HEADS. F.X#< THIS! ITS TIME TO ORGANIZE AND PROTEST.
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Posted by lexilou on June 8, 2013 at 4:27 PM · Report this

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