May 31 - A former Microsoft executive plans to create the first U.S. national marijuana brand, with cannabis he hopes to eventually import legally from Mexico. Sarah Charlton reports.
Could buying and selling marijuana be about to reach new highs? A former Microsoft executive has unveiled plans for the first national marijuana brand in the U.S.. Jamen Shively hopes his Seattle-based business will become the leader in recreational and medical cannabis. Flanked by a former Mexican president, Shively said he plans to eventually import the drug legally from Mexico. SOUNDBITE: (English) JAMEN SHIVELY, FORMER MICROSOFT CORPORATE STRATEGY MANAGER, SAYING: "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." Shively kicked off business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three states and says the market is potentially huge. SOUNDBITE: (English) JAMEN SHIVELY, FORMER MICROSOFT CORPORATE STRATEGY MANAGER, SAYING: "Once full legalization with regulation exists across the country, our estimates somewhere in 200 billion for the United States market and the total worldwide market would be somewhere north of half a trillion dollars." Two U.S. states have legalized recreational use of the drug, and 18 allow it for medical use. But the enterprise could face hurdles, as it remains banned under federal law.