"It's a giant market in search of a brand," he said of the $142 billion world-wide marijuana industry
. "We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide."
His Diego Pellicer brand, named after his grandfather, is already up and rolling as Shively has acquired medical marijuana franchises in Colorado and Washington state, the states that voted in November to legalize the use of marijuana recreationally. Those states are the only two to legalize pot recreationally but including them 18 states
, and the District of Columbia, have medical marijuana.
Federally, marijuana is still illegal in the U.S..
The former Microsoft corporate strategy manager plans to create separate recreational and medical brands of his pot and to finance research into the use of marijuana as a cure for cancer or other illnesses. The 45-year-old, who 18-months ago says he'd never even smoked marijuana, has now "fallen in love" with weed.
Diego Pellicer marijuana seeks investors
He is seeking investors for the $10 million in start-up money that he envisions needing. As for the feds, he says he is only acquiring dispensaries that comply with local and state law and is keeping his business above-board. "If they (federal government officials) want to come talk to me, I'll be delighted to meet with them," he said. "I'll tell them everything that we're doing and show them all our books."
His intention is to be legally importing his marijuana from Mexico, which brings in the presence of Fox at the news conference. Fox is not an investor but an interested party and long-time associate of Shively's. He is an advocate of legalizing marijuana, seeing it as a way to help his country escape the clutches of the powerful and violent drug cartels
"What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my side instead of Chapo Guzman," Fox told the press conference. "This is the story that has begun to be written here." Chapo Guzman is a powerful Mexican drug warlord.
Shively did not lay out a detailed plan moving forward other than to say that he intends for the present to continue acquiring medical marijuana dispensaries and get more investors onboard.
"Let’s go big or go home," Shively said. "We’re going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business."