Former Microsoft bigwig Jamen Shiveley announced this week that he’s creating the first national marijuana brand and that he eventually hopes to build the company up to be the Starbucks of recreational pot. To accomplish that, he eventually plans to break down international drug laws and import cannabis grown in Mexico.
“It’s a giant market in search of a brand,” Shiveley said at a press conference. “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide.”
While the plan sounds far-fetched, he’s got support from some pretty big names – including former Mexican president Vicente Fox, who says he supports the move as a way of shifting sales from the illegal drug cartels to legitimate businesses.
“With this we will avoid the violence,” Fox told CNN yesterday. “We will control the criminals and reduce their income, and at the same time it would become a transparent, accountable business in the hands of businessmen.”
But for now, Shiveley is operating in more legal spheres – namely by purchasing dispensaries in Washington, California and Colorado that allow for medical marijuana use.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is a unique moment in history,” Shiveley said ealier this week. “The Berlin Wall of the prohibition of cannabis is weak, and it is crumbling as we speak. And just as happened in Berlin in 1989, the old guards who used to protect the wall of cannabis prohibition are laying down their weapons and walking away.”
At a press conference announcing his plan this week, Shiveley also announced that he would be funding cannabis research for cancer and other conditions. He also says he’s looking for investors to raise about $10 million in startup funding for his endeavor.
Below, check out a video of Fox and Shiveley on CNN talking with Wolf Blitzer: