James Shively: Microsoft executive turned marijuana entrepreneur

Laura Byrne Contributor
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A former Microsoft executive in Washington state has decided he wants to make it in the marijuana business, now that using the drug is legal under state law.

But James Shively won’t sell any stinky weed. He wants his cannabis business to sell high-quality marijuana, marketed to upscale buyers.

“By creating the category of premium marijuana, we want to position it similar to a fine cognac, a fine brandy, a fine cigar,” Shively told KIRO-TV.

The entrepreneur hopes to name his business after his great-grandfather, Diego Pellicer. According to Shively, his great-grandfather was the world’s largest marijuana producer in the 19th century.

“He [Pellicer] was supplying hemp rope made from the marijuana tree to the Spanish Armada during the Spanish-American War,” Shively told KIRO-TV. “So I’ve got marijuana in my blood, so to speak.”

Shively said he came up with the idea “after a few bong hits.”

The businessman will take this year to research and grow his retail marijuana business. He says his product will be “something to be savored and enjoyed in small quantities by responsible adults.”

Starting Thursday, all adults 21 and older will be allowed to carry an ounce of marijuana in Washington state, and the state projects it will bring in over $2 billion over the next five years from marijuana taxes.

Shively predicts that marijuana will continue to become legal in other states. “The buzz is in the air,” he explained to KIRO-TV. “This is a new industry in the making, and it’s going to be a giant industry, and the state of Washington is going to lead the way.

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