Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft man and current CEO of Seattle-based Diego Pellicer, recently announced some big plans for big marijuana. With pot already legal for recreational use in two states and medical consumption (nothing quite like a prescription brownie) in 16 others, it seems like only a matter of time before the drug is as common and legal as tobacco or alcohol. Or at least that’s what Jamen Shively is betting on.
The Seattle-area businessman’s plan includes the Image Credit: investment of $100 million over the next three years in the expanding “social marijuana” market, and the hopes of eventually forming a national chain of marijuana stores. If all goes according to plan for Shively, the growth of legal marijuana into a national industry could have some far-reaching implications.
5 Obesity Epidemic
We’re all well aware that this country already struggles with obesity. On a global scale, the United States is basically the fat camp of nations. So it’s easy to see how the legitimization of marijuana could compound our issues, and our neck rolls. If marijuana is more widely accepted and consumed, it only stands to reason that we as a nation could develop a very serious, very detrimental case of the munchies. It would also likely establish Taco Bell as the single most powerful corporate entity in the history of the world.
4 Federal Relaxation
It’s hard to predict how Shively’s plans could be affected by federal intervention, but in the long run, a large chain could lead to the relaxation of federal policies on marijuana. Shively says his dispensaries will follow, to the last letter of the law, every regulation of the states in which they are located. And by running his company like any other legitimate, privately financed business, any success Shively enjoys would undoubtedly result in the government taking a closer look at whether marijuana could or should be completely legalized.
3 Curbing Violence
Former Mexican President Vicente Fox spoke alongside Shively saying that his plans for big marijuana could very well help to curtail Mexico’s huge crime problem. Fox pointed out that legitimatizing the pot industry would take drug revenues out of the hands of dangerous cartels and give them to licensed corporations instead, saying “Criminals won’t be able to get the money because the money will be in the hands of people like Jamen.” Ultimately, no matter what your stance on marijuana, you’ve got to respect any business that directly results in fewer people getting their heads cut off.
2 Employment Opportunities
New industry always leads to new jobs. And just because this particular industry hinges on selling a psychotropic drug that makes the Discovery Channel WAY cooler, doesn’t make its employment prospects any less legitimate. Shively, who plans to keep his company headquartered in Seattle, envisions employing about 1,000 people locally and 10,000 people across the nation. Those numbers would only continue to grow as the legal marijuana industry does, and could eventually lead to a massive new employment structure (not to mention some pretty amazing company picnics).
With Shively’s massive investment plan, he hopes to create what he believes could be the Starbucks of marijuana. “Yes, we are Big Marijuana,” Shively said, expressing his desire to “be the most recognized brand in an industry that does not exist yet.” Just imagine, a chain of marijuana dispensaries as abundant as the country’s most popular coffee chain. There’d be one on every corner, and like Starbucks, they’d probably also sell a lot of Postal Service albums. The notion seems unbelievable, but could become a reality if other states continue to fall in line behind Washington and Colorado.