As I mentioned last night, former Microsoft employee Jamen Shively’s press conference with former Mexican President Vicente Fox went down today:
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.
“Yes, we are Big Marijuana,” he announced.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last March, the company wrote that it had raised $125,000 of an anticipated $625,000. Shively suggested those were outdated, but did not provide different figures.
I’m far from someone who has concerns about a commercial marijuana industry. I find it natural that once marijuana is legal and regulated, there will be companies that will grow to resemble the large brewers and distillers in this country. They will even pander to heavy smokers and largely not care about people who develop dependency issues with their product. As far as I’m concerned, this is still far better than settling turf wars with gun battles and not having any government oversight into their production processes.
But I’m somewhat annoyed by what Shively is doing here (even beyond what I mentioned last night about the risks he’s taking with respect to provoking the feds). What annoys me is that there’s a sense that he can become “big marijuana” just through marketing and good corporate gamesmanship alone. As we develop this new market, I have hopes that the Liquor Control Board errs on the side if giving out more licenses to more folks to foster an atmosphere of competition. If someone is going to become “big marijuana”, I want them to get there by having a superior product, and by working their ass off to grow a good company. Not because they have connections and a lot of capital.