Friday, May 31, 2013

Is a 'Starbucks of Pot' What Corporate Cannabis Really Needs?


Jamen Shively is high on cannabis legalization.

For someone who only lit up for the first time ever last year, Shively, a former Microsoft manager, sure has mastered all the heady pro-pot talking points. He likens the growth of green legalization, recently spurred by Washington State and Colorado voting to legalize small amounts of cannabis for recreational use, to the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. When the Seattle Times asked him if he's at all worried about the Feds shuttering his plans to open up a national chain of pot shops, he waxed Jedi: "Darth," Shively began, cribbing Obi-Wan Kenobi, "if you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine." 

You might be cringing. But there's no way around it: When you're a business person looking to capture a massive slice of a potentially massive pie, you have to talk the talk, winking and nodding as if you've been there all along. You have to sidle up, in this case, to a crowd that is maybe quite wary of some of the ripples starting to emanate from proverbial Big Pot. Medical pot users and stoners alike just loOooOve Star Wars, or something. Right? So does Jamen. He is one of you! And together--you, the affluent Baby Boomer user to whom Shively's proposed chain would expressly target and cater--you'll forever change the arc of history, bong in hand. 

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