In May, that is what a former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively said as he discussed his plans to launch a new marijuana brand named for his great-great-grandfather, Diego Pellicer, who was, “at one point, known as the largest marijuana grower in the world at the height of the Spanish empire.” His efforts to create the first national brand of marijuana received support Thursday from the former president of Mexico, Vicente Fox.

Fox, also a former Coca-Cola executive, specified that he’s not involved in the venture.

But in June, in the Mexico Gulf Reporter, Fox said that if marijuana is legalized, he would not hesitate to enter into every phase of the business – cultivation, marketing and distribution. He told a press conference that Mexico should “industrialize” cannabis production and become a major exporting nation. “We should become an authorized producer, and export marijuana everywhere it’s legal to do so. If and when it becomes legal, every farmer here would be able to raise it, just like any other crop. Marijuana is not pernicious. With adequate controls and adequate regulation it could become a lawful industry. We want to strip the billions and billions of dollars away from the criminals, and put them into the hands of business entrepreneurs like James Shively.”

The former Microsoft executive James Shively hopes to “open pot trade with Mexico” and market the first national brand of retail marijuana in the United States

Shively described grand visions for his pot brand — hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, tens of millions of customers, more than 1,000 jobs just at Diego Pellicer’s Seattle headquarters. He hopes to be the “fine wine” or “cognac” of the marijuana retail industry which he said could be a $200 billion dollar industry if and when the United States legalizes pot.

So, not only has Shively been purchasing dispensaries ( he says his company is joining forces with a Washington state chain of medical marijuana dispensaries run by John Davis, the Northwest Patient Resource Center, as well as dispensaries in Colorado and California), but just last week, Market Watch reported that Plandai Biotechnology (otcqb:PLPL) recently entered into what could very well be the industry’s biggest agreement to date. At the time, many investors may have viewed it as just another licensing agreement, but as Plandai lays the groundwork for its future, the deal with Diego Pellicer, Inc. and Diego Pellicer Worldwide permits the company to use the Diego Pellicer name for its Phytofare (TM) cannabis extracts. (At the same time, it fused Plandai with Jamen Shively).

Plandaí­ Biotechnology, Inc. “intends to transform the world of nutraceuticals […] making extracts from live plant material […] that deliver the highest levels of bioavailability currently in the market.”

Their headquarters are in Seattle, Washington, with offices in London, England and Nelspruit in the province of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Plandai, “through its wholly owned subsidiaries, farms over 7500 acres of luscious land in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.”

Shively: “Yes, we are Big Marijuana.”

Wow… Well… Fk, where do I begin?

First off, to anyone out there (namely, anyone who has been in the weed business under prohibition: growers, brokers, even small-time dealers) who feels concerned about what appears to be, as the New York Times put it, the Wal-Martization of our most beloved plant:

Rest Easy! Rest Assured! The potential future of our plant is in great hands with Jamen Shively. And who better than the great great great great grandson of Diego Pellicer, who “was at one point known as the largest marijuana grower in the world at the height of the Spanish empire?”

I laughed out loud reading that. What a fkn joke! Every brand needs a story though, right?

But, he is seriously positioning himself to make a very large impact on the industry. When I read quotes from people saying they want to strip away the billions of dollars made by criminals and put them into the hands of entrepreneurs, I can’t help but think of all those criminals. In effort to garner public support, they have us visualizing seizing the industry away from violent cartels. But that is not quite accurate, nor does it describe the whole picture.

For the last 40+  years many many American citizens have been supplementing their incomes off of marijuana profits. I have spoken with close to 100 individuals, mostly between the ages of 30 and 70 years who opened up and shared their experiences in the marijuana trade. Some went large but got out of the business in time to avoid federal indictment and enjoy their money. Some got hit with big prison sentences. But many stayed within not-so-massive levels of production or distribution and were able make a decent living.

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Some put their money right back into their local economies, buying real estate, boats, cars, whatever they wanted. But most used their profits to subsidize their existence rather than trying to scrape by on low wage paying jobs. There were profits to be made for everyone willing to take on the risk, for one reason: its legal status.

People could run the risk of jail time and setup a grow in a hard to reach patch of woods, or a basement, or even a closet. There was a time when someone could setup a little closet grow, put their clone/transplant/harvest/switch! rotation into effect and make an extra 20 grand/yr. That was a great bonus while they were working their asses off for low wages.

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Those that had the balls to bypass their power meters (stomp..tap), and really fill up a larger space so as to avoid detection via high-spiking power bills , made much larger profits, sometimes up to a couple million/yr, depending on how large their areas and their number of hoods (1k watt HD lights).

marijuana-growBut, enter the fall of prohibition and capitalism. With what Mr. Shively and Mr.Fox are gearing up for, we can kiss all of that extra money-making across the population goodbye. All the profits will be funneled toward the few at the top, just like in any other corporation.

Shively: “Tens of millions of customers, more than 1,000 jobs just at Diego Pellicer’s Seattle headquarters.”

I think of *bucks. Are the thousands of *bucks employees able to buy a car and a home with their wages?

If they have their way and the United States opens marijuana trade and begins sourcing their goods from Mexican growers, American cultivators will not be able to compete with the cost/unit produced in Mexico. The large marijuana retail chains will be able to sell their product cheaper, and other retail companies will be forced to purchase their stock from Mexican producers, as well, to stay competitive.

What do you think? Does Shively’s and Fox’s vision for the industry have the aroma of what could be the beginning of the end of your friendly local grower/dispensary? Or is this the direction the industry should go? What are the pros and cons of this corporate model being applied to our most beloved plant?

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