'Bill Gates of bud' ready to capitalize on high-end pot retail


by KING 5 News


Posted on December 6, 2012 at 7:31 PM

Many questions remain about how the legalization of marijuana will play out in Washington. One question is what are state pot stores going to be like?

One ex-Microsoftie has a vision for that - a high end vision - and he's ready to ride the wave of the growing pot industry.

Former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively is a confirmed toker. While people gathered publicly to burn the midnight weed and breathe in a brand new legal environment, it was a quieter scene at Shively Bellevue home, where one can get a peek inside the possible future of high-end pot retail.

"The creativity and the social elixir, it's just amazing. So I love the stuff," said Shively.

Shively wants to sell expensive weed to well-heeled customers.

"We're focused on Baby Boomers - basically wealthy Baby Boomers," said Shively. "It's a $100 billion industry in search of a brand. Never in the history of capitalism - forget America, in the world - has such a giant vacuum existed," said Shively.

His brand is Diejo Pellicer, named after his great grandfather, a 19th century hemp king. Shively and his plans have been parodied overseas, where he's called the "Bill Gates of bud" in a Chinese video.

Chairman of the board of the company Alan Valdes, a floor manager on the New York Stock Exchange, sees Washington as the perfect starter market, with this kind of energy drawing the attention of potential investors who see big returns on an early buy-in.

"Remember this isn't a start up company. This is a start up industry, so they want to get on board and to get on board is not that big a deal," he said.

The state of Washington is expected to license 350 or so retail stores. The exact rules for applying for an getting those licenses - among the million or so other details - still need to be worked out.

KING 5's Allen Schauffler contributed to this report.