Former Microsoft executive to create marijuana retail chain

Summary:Will the ex-Microsoft employee be able to establish America's first retail pot brand?

In December, SmartPlanet reported that former Microsoft executive James Shively planned to launch a premium marijuana business now that the state of Washington has decreed American citizens 21-years old or above can possess, produce and distribute marijuana.

Shively said that premium marijuana should be similar to a "fine congnac, a fine brandy, [or] a fine cigar," and used by responsible adults. Now, the former manager wants to open pot trade with Mexico and create the U.S.'s first national brand of retail marijuana.

In a news conference, Shively said that the businesses could mean "minting more millionaires than Microsoft," and he is currently in the midst of acquiring medical-marijuana dispensaries in both Washington and Colorado.

The former Microsoft employee wants to establish a proposal to regulate the trade of cannabis between the U.S. and Mexico, although international rules that ban legal pot will likely be an issue. Likening rules to the Berlin wall and the fact the build is crumbling every day, Shively remains undettered and sees the opportunity for profit in an industry where there is no "real" established brand.

"I've just fallen in love with the plant," the former Microsoft executive commented. "Especially in the medical realm I've gone from entrepreneur to advocate to activist, seriously."

Read More: The Seattle Times

Image credit: Flickr

This post was originally published on

Topics: Innovation


Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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