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Seattle investor declares the advent of ‘Big Marijuana’

Gabriel Spitzer

A Seattle investment group has declared the advent of “Big Marijuana,” but big questions remain about just how their multimillion dollar nationwide pot business would work.

Former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively wants to create the first national brands for marijuana stores, spanning both medical and recreational cannabis. He said his company Diego Pellicerhas agreements with the Seattle-based medical marijuana dispensary Northwest Patient Resource Center and another group of retailers in Colorado. Those stores are to be recast with a single brand name starting next month.

Because marijuana is still illegal by federal law, a multi-state pot venture could draw lots of attention. But Shively said he’s waited long enough for a green light from Washington, D.C.

“The silence from our nation’s capital has been deafening. We are moving forward with our plans to build a national, and eventually international, network,” Shively said.

At Shively’s side for the announcement was former Mexican President Vicente Fox. Fox offered support for the venture, but says it will be a while before Shively can realize his ambition of expanding south of the border. He said a legitimate American marijuana market could help ease drug-fueled violence in Mexico.

Shively was short on details of how his deals are structured, citing private agreements, but he said he’s created a way to protect investors from running afoul of the law. He said he expects to finish raising $10 million within a few weeks.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.