The Internet went cray-cray this week over former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively’s announcement that he would start “the first national brand of marijuana,” with support from former Mexican president Vicente Fox, according to The Huffington Post.
Shively, who was a corporate strategy manager at Microsoft before leaving in 2009, will invest over $100 million in the venture over the next three years, and says he will create over 1,000 jobs in tech-heavy Seattle. At a news conference this week, Fox explained that he will name the company after his great-great grandfather, a “hemp-producer” named Diego Pellicer, and also had former president Fox explain how America’s ‘War on Drugs’ had decimated Mexican infrastructure and government. To this end, Shively is hoping to regulate marijuana trade between Mexico and the U.S., which right away drew some red alerts from analysts, according to The Verge.
Marijuana is currently legal in Washington and Colorado, and although Shively admitted he has no specific plans to overcome the innumerable regulatory hurdles, he does have a (relatively) specific business goal: to control 40 percent of the global marijuana market.
“We’re going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business,” said Shively.
But don’t get it twisted, Shively wasn’t toking up regularly while at Microsoft. He claims he only started smoking 18 months ago, and has “fallen in love with the plant.”
Regular readers of StartupBook will know that this is just the latest in a string of entrepreneurial pushes for marijuana legitimacy. BusinessWeek recently ran a profile of publicly-traded Medbox — a marijuana vending machine — and former SEO consultant Justin Hatfield is currently making around $1.5 million a month with WeedMaps.com, a medical dispensary website. And then there’s the pack of Yale MBAs who run Privateer Holdings, which owns, among other properties, Leafly.com.