Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

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. 

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  1. I hope he has a lot of tax attorneys on his payroll.

    1. Applies to tak school

      1. tax damnit. Edit button sure would be nice.

        1. Edit button sure would be nice

          Sigh, dead horse gets beaten a little more…

  2. Nice use of Fox as a human shield!

  3. He should invest in flashy advertising. Like alt-text.

    1. How about an animated paperclip that teaches you how to use marijuana.

      1. I think the talking paper clip comes after the pot.

  4. “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.

    Wow, two things I don’t give a fuck about. No, that’s not true, I do give a fuck. I just want people to act counter to them.

    1. I doubt she cares what the feds think, her point is that if that is a big concern and it happens too soon after legalization it may lead to backtracking either in currently legal states, or making voters in other states more wary. Idk how valid a worry it is, but it is a possiblity.

      1. The feds will do nothing until there is an entire retail chain setup. Then they’ll move in and seize all of the assets. Store front properties. Cash. Pot. Growing facilities and equipment. All of it. But they’ll wait until the chain has had time to build inventory and cash reserves before making a move.

        Count on it.

  5. So now, in America, your business model has to be pleasing to the powers-that-be. Good to know.

  6. Oh fantastic. Now we can have another of those “cooperation between business and government” arrangements (no matter what they are saying now, that is where it is going) to expand the regulatory regime into a new government profit center.

    Then again, this is a product that is much easier to make than a gun, so everybody take your lessons from that right and just guess how this is going to turn out.

  7. Meh, who the fuck cares about this guy, or his ‘brand’. Pot is a damn plant, not an operating system that it takes an army of developers and other employees to develop, maintain, and market.

    Anyone can grow weed. For those who cannot, let’s hope the entire industry stays comprised of small growers. Next thing you know, Monsanto will be wanting to patent weed and genetically modify it to make the seeds sterile, and sue anyone else who tries to grow it. And the big tent political parties would be all for it as long as they get their supply of crony bucks.

    1. Anyone can make a cup of coffee or a burger, too. Doesn’t mean that there aren’t thousands of people in line every day at a Starbucks or a Mickey D’s waiting to get their fix.

      I wouldn’t be so down on this; active, above-board bourgeois participation in supplying the market is a positive indicator — and ultimately, the vast majority of the prohibition-related violence is a supply-side problem.

    2. Legal weed is likely to be so heavily regulated that it is a real danger that only big companies with lots of connections could actually make a good business of it, leading to ugliness like you describe. I’d much rather see it legalized for home cultivation and limited private sales than have it be required to be sold in highly regulated stores.

      1. True. On the other hand you could buy a 25lb sack at Costco.

        1. Why does anyone need a 25lb sack of weed?

        2. Not without 8 licenses and a $5/seed tax.

      2. I don’t see why either result would be mutually exclusive.

        Homebrewing does exist, after all — and coexists in a market with established (mostly crap) Big Beer.

        1. dang I was going to bring up homebrewing, I actually used it against this stoner in my O.Chem class who said he’s worried that legalizing weed will allow corporations to make tons of low quality crap and ruin the weed. I mentioned for most people that works for them, for people like you, you will continue to grow or seek out high quality stuff similar to craft brewing and beer. I’m not sure if that got through to him or not.

          1. You could also point out that those corporations already exist in the form of major drug cartels. Your stoner associate wants the stuff the hippy-dippy from Humboldt grows, not the stuff that gets catapulted over the Mexican border/

        2. Same for tobacco. But going through all of the growing and curing rituals is more than I want to try. So I use “pipe” tobacco, until the jack-booted regulators mess that up.

          1. It is much harder to grow good tobacco than it is to grow good marijuana.

            1. Yes, that is why I put that second sentence in there. Too bad I am not into pot.

        3. So expect continued prohibition of mailing your homegrown to your friends. And there will be a 100oz annual limit.

          But I can’t wait for the homegrown competitions. Where do I sign up to become CJCP?

          1. The tragically funny thing is, some call this liberty.

        4. I realize that other things are possible. But the two scenarios I compared seem most likely to me. There is not going to be a truly open legal market for it anytime soon. I’d rather it be limited to artisanal growers than limited to crony capitalists.

      3. My issue is that you have guys like this dude from MS, and you have guys who have been growing weed for decades, who have made an art of it.

        So now, people like the MS dude, who knows jack shit about growing weed, will get in bed with the government and have the little grower regulated out of business, so that they can make their millions.

        I don’t have any issue with anyone making as much money as they want to, except when they do it through cronyism and thoughtlessly hurt other people, who only want to make a living, through such underhanded tactics.

        1. It’s sad that this is the most likely outcome.

        2. agreed that cronyism is bad, but again look at the craft brew market. The people who care will still have options for better quality or more ethical weed. (assuming the big guys dont outlaw homecrafting like I believe beer was for a long time.)

        3. I dunno about that. I have no love for Microsoft, but they got to the top of their industry without getting in bed with government — and only got themselves involved in government after the anti-monopoly suits (i.e., when government started fucking with them).

          If this guy pursues the same strategy, then I won’t hold it against him. My guess is that marijuana will always be a regulated market like alcohol, but that the low overhead to make it will allow for convenient grey markets if established businesses aren’t cutting it.

          1. I need to look up what happened to Apple’s lobbying activity just before they got dragged before Congress. They used to be big on lobbying, but if they stopped it could be a government attempt to get the gravy train rolling again.

    3. Next thing you know, Monsanto will be wanting to patent weed and genetically modify it to make the seeds sterile, and sue anyone else who tries to grow it.

      And the problem is?

      1. Right, cause you could always just clone their patent.

    4. The only thing that can make the GMO rallies funnier is when Monasnto starts making pot seeds.

    5. Anyone can grow weed.

      While this is true, growing high quality weed is a lot more complicated than plopping a seed in some dirt and watering it every couple of days. It takes equipment and know how.

      1. Equipment and know how possessed by legions of illiterate peasant farmers and amateur home gardeners.
        The main component of high quality weed is high quality seed stock.

  8. “””Bill Gates of Weed””””

    So people are going to buy marijuana, but it won’t work right and you have to input marijuana updates, and then when it finally sort of works, it will go out of date and won’t be supported and you will have to buy a new version of marijuana?

    And I hate to think what the Marijuana Blue Screen of Death is.

  9. My only question is why would anyone want to import Mexican weed when domestic stuff is legal?

    1. Mexican weed will do things domestic weed won’t.

      1. Every bail comes with a free landscaper.

      2. Yeah, like having random bits of plastic, sugar, and small animal parts in it.

        1. I get the random strips of plastic in one pound bags of Gambler Gold pipe tobacco. Definitely a QC problem.

      3. Mexican weed sucks ass compared to the American stuff that started getting produced when Medical MJ started.

        The old Mexican weed was sometimes green and sometimes brownish, likely grown outside. It’s like crude ditch weed compared to the red/blue/orange/purple hydroponic kush shit they’re producing now domestically.

        1. Mexican weed sucks ass compared to the American stuff that started getting produced when Medical MJ started in the late 70s when a bunch of hippies started selectively breeding and crossing plants.


          High quality weed is not a new thing, and isn’t a result of MMJ efforts. If anything formal MMJ efforts are a result of having copious amounts of high quality weed which were already differentiated enough in their effects to actually treat people who have differentiated symptoms from various debilitations.

    2. Why do wholesale green grocers import Mexican fruits and vegetables when domestic stuff is legal?

      Why do beer distributors import Corona, Modello, Tecate, Dos Equis and Victoria when domestic Milwaukee’s Best Ice Light is legal?

  10. Fuck this guy. I have been plotting to be the pioneer in this industry and turn it into a major corporation like Budweiser and the other alcohol companies since I started smelling legalization around the corner. I have literally based my entire future plans based on the theory that I would make millions doing this. Dammit.

    1. Dude, you’re like 12. Just get a paper route. Meet up with nicole yet?

    2. *walks up to counter at the convenience store*

      “I’ll have a pack of Marlboro Green, please.”

  11. How much longer until we hear about politicians just being shills for Big Weed?

  12. Former Microsoft Employee Plans to Be the Bill Gates of Weed

    So he’ll be continuously pestered by American and European regulators, while he perpetually releases Weed products which are increasingly annoying until he slides into slow irrelevance?

  13. Nice to see the ACLU is still onboard with issues pertinent to liberty and justice (cough, cough).

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