Former Microsoft Employee Plans to Be the Bill Gates of Weed



Sometime tomorrow, former Microsoft project manager Jamen Shively will hold a press conference with former Mexico President Vicente Fox to announce plans for America's first (above-board) national marijuana company, as well as marijuana trade program with Mexico.

"We're going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business," Shively apparently told The Seattle Times.

Reporter Bob Young has more: 

[Shively]'s acquiring medical-marijuana dispensaries in Washington and Colorado, he said, and plans to become the leader in both the medical and adult-recreational pot markets. He sees the marijuana market as the only one of its size in which there does not exist a single established brand.

He and Fox plan to announce a proposal for regulating the trade of marijuana between the two countries, he said.

Some details of the trade agreement remain to be worked out, such as how to get around international rules forbidding legal pot, Shively admitted.

"I don't know how exactly that would be done, but I know it's been done in other industries," he said.

This isn't the first time Shively has shared his vision, but it seems he'll be getting more attention now that he has a plan. Unsurprisingly, the ACLU's Alison Holcomb, author of the ballot initiative that made marijuana legal in Washington state, is wary of Shively's plan: 

"Having a national chain of marijuana-based companies is not only explicitly counter to the existing prohibition, but also counter to the government's expressed concern about business growing too large," said Holcomb, drug-policy director for the ACLU of Washington.

If she were Shively's attorney, Holcomb said, she'd advise him to read the so-called Cole memorandum from the U.S. Department of Justice. It "explicitly mentioned a concern with operations involving thousands of plants and millions of dollars" and is evidence of the federal concern with big pot businesses.

The feds will be a problem, yes. So will groups like Project SAM and National Families in Action, who claim that pot legalization will lead to tobacco-style targeting of teenage consumers. Shively definitely has his work cut out for him.