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Former Microsoft manager announces plans for 'big marijuana'

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, center, speaks during a news conference Thursday, May 30, 2013, in Seattle. Diego Pellicer Inc. announced recent acquisitions of medical marijuana dispensary chains in Washington and Colorado, creating the first national brand of retail cannabis. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

A former Microsoft manager wants to be the world leader in the sale of medical and recreational marijuana, projecting legal marijuana as a $200-$500 billion industry worldwide.

At a news conference in Seattle Thursday, Jamen Shively announced he's purchasing medicinal marijuana operations in Washington, Colorado, and California with plans to announce a name for that business next month, the first national branding of medicinal marijuana.

"The Berlin Wall of the prohibition of cannabis is weak and it is crumbling as we speak," said Shively. He said he's investing in cannabis-related business and seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in private funding, but he wouldn't provide further details.

"We are moving forward with our plans to build a national and eventually international network of cannabis businesses, spanning the production, processing, distribution and retail sale of cannabis and cannabis-based products," declared Shively.

Shively's recreational marijuana operation will carry the Diego Pellicier brand, a company he founded and named for his great grandfather, who cultivated cannabis in the Philippines during the height of the Spanish Empire.

Appearing at the news conference with Shively and other boosters was the former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, who runs a think tank. Because of what he calls the failed war on drugs, he said he favors the new marijuana enterprise in Washington.

"Because the cost of the war, in the case of Mexico, is becoming unbearable," Fox said, calling the illegal production and sale of marijuana a "trap" that is killing children.

Shively criticized the Obama administration's enforcement of the federal ban on marijuana and ensuing raids on medicinal marijuana operations, urging the administration to "go after the true criminals."

Shively expects to raise his first $10 million in investment capital in the next couple of weeks. He hopes to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in his quest to be the king of marijuana, agreeing with a reporter who suggested his operation will be "big marijuana."

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About the Author

Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.


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