Former Microsoft Manager Has Big Ideas About Marketing Retail Pot


Former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively wants to create the first national brand of retail marijuana and to open pot trade with Mexico. Shively plans to announce that and more in a Thursday news conference he says will feature Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico. “Let’s go big or go home,” Shively said. “We’re going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business.” He’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.

Alison Holcomb, primary author of the state’s legal-marijuana law, said Shively faces a huge obstacle in the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana.

“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.

But Shively, 45, likened the federal prohibition to the Berlin Wall and said it’s crumbling, with fewer defenders every day.

He also said he’s created a way to shield investors from federal regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

And, he contends a venture this size is too big to operate recklessly and take risks — such as diverting legal pot to black markets — that the federal government is most concerned about.

“What we’re all about is making it extremely professional and having the highest quality and efficiencies,” he said.

What if the feds were to come after him?

Shively paraphrased Obi-Wan Kenobi. “He said ‘Darth, if you strike me down I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.’”

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.

Shively, though, seems undeterred. He has become almost evangelical about pot and its benefits, particularly for medical patients, such as his father who has prostate cancer.

“I’ve just fallen in love with the plant,” he said. “Especially in the medical realm I’ve gone from entrepreneur to advocate to activist, seriously.”

Shively worked at Microsoft six years, he said, and had the title of corporate strategy manager. He said he’s been smoking pot for a year and a half.

News Hawk- Truth Seeker 420 MAGAZINE ®
Author: Bob Young
Contact: Services | Seattle Times Newspaper
Website: Former Microsoft manager has big ideas about marketing retail pot | Local News | The Seattle Times


  1. This is a “corporate strategy manager” of Microsoft level. Do we want the standard for nationally legalized weed set by someone like that? This is a business man trying to grab the “first come” monopoly. Smoking a year and a half? About how long has the pot industry looked like it may become a viable source of big business in the U.S.? Hmmm. I wonder if he might be the kind of guy that would have a strategy to make a corporate empire for himself? Oh yeah, that’s what he does. Look at Microsoft, he had a hand in that and I don’t see much love for the customer, I hope to see the beginning of legal smoke to be different than that.
    Maybe I’m ranting a bit, but I am the type to read 4:20 articles, so that should be expected.

  2. how is all this money going to be made??? If tomatoes were $3500 a pound would you buy them at the store or grow your own once its more legal or completely legal supply and demand kick in. its like casinos after a while there are too many and the effect of instant whatever is gone

  3. I think what disturbs me most is he immediately want’s to outsource production to Mexico. Can’t we have *any* domestic industries?

  4. why are we trying to import nasty pot from mexico where there are no regulations when we already have established growers/caregivers here in the united states?

    doing so in WA and CO would be legal AND it would eliminate having to come up with craft ways around international trade regulations and paying unnecessary taxes.

    leave it to a microsoft exec (the company that pioneered pakistani tech support for americans) to come up with this ridiculous way of supplying a product.

  5. Sounds too money motivated, pot should have recreational values…growing it is one of the pleasures associated with smoking. Who wants this guy as the face of the smoking community he looks corrupted

  6. Part of legalization is people like Jamen Shively who are just doing what they know, that is taking advantage of economies of scale. Every grower lives with the realities of staying a profitable business. There is another, better way that a lot of people never attempt, thinking that growing high-quality cannabis is difficult.

    You pay 8-15 dollars a gram for it at dispensaries now and it’s usually very good. It’s convenient and overall a practical solution to end marijuana prohibition.

    But, as the government and corporations take their cut you can count on prices going up up up, just like taxes and the cost of living. But, if you invested 500-$1,000 in lights and grow equipment, after the first crop (or two) the rest of your cannabis for as long as you continue to smoke is pennies per gram, maybe a few dollars per OUNCE for electricity.

    I use high CBD strains to treat a seizure disorder that was previously treated with Klonopin. That drug I found to be over-sedating, and dangerously habit forming. Finally, if you medicate daily, probably a better idea to get it in the form of edibles, which are easy to make yourself.

  7. NO NO NO NO!!!! TOMATO MODEL IS HOW TO DO IT!!! This dude is single handedly gonna destroy what we have been working to achieve. We want to cut ties to the cartels, not open them up legally. As much as people want to make bank off of pot, this is so not the way to do it. This will degrade quality and hurt the overall cause. No bueno. Big business should have no part in this. Primo isnt attainable in mammoth grows. People try to cut corners every which way.

  8. if cannabis is ever going to be a legit is is going to be by blocking off access to big business and keeping it in the hands of the people fighting for it. PLEASE Eeveryone if this does happen BOYCOTT i would only wanna by from people who i know cannabis is their passion, these people dont want to be millionares but just make a living doing what they love . CAPITALISM AND CANNABIS DOES NOT MIX. AND WILL ONLY CREATE MORE GREED, MORE CORRUPTION, AND MORE UNHAPPY CITIZENS. we need to start negotiating now on capping profits increasing taxes for larger businness and tax deductions for those who only operate one business in one town.

  9. I really hope our people will not fall into these traps and infact we can turn the trap around and get big businness to invest millions only to fail miserably. because cannabis culture is more than just getting high and smoking the best cheapest pot possible. its about co-operation and sharing the glory with our brothers sharing genetics sharing our passions and standing up to the things no other community is willing to. its not cannabis culture its Counter Culture. we have been tying ourselves to trees, protesting and jumping infront of tanks since before you were born fuck. IM soo MAD cuz this is great news for legalization but it is bad news for everything surrounding it. can this culture really continue with legalization or will we change. will we stop fighting a common enemy and cannabis just end up as a way to get high and make money?

  10. You will not be forced to buy this guy’s weed but what he can do is blaze a trail through the law with is money and influence. After all there is Budwiser but it is does not stop home brewing of beer or ‘real ale’ microbreweries. Consumers and quality will ultimately prevail but some people who make a nice living now will ultimately miss out however legalisation goes.

  11. This guy is getting WAY to much press! Interesting. Thinks he is a trend setter because he wants to start Starbucks Marijuana. Why doesn’t he just work for Phillip Morris or InBev? Or does he? There’s more to this guy than he is leading on.