“Starbucks of Weed,” Brought to You by an Ex-Microsoft Executive

May 31, 2013 | Andy Cush

Someday, weed will be a major American industry. We’ve known that for a while. Now, one company hopes to be that industry’s first serious player. Dubbed Diego Pellicer, the upstart brand is helmed by a six-year veteran former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively, and hopes to become the first national cannabis chain.

They’ve started by buying a Seattle dispensary with two storefronts, and Shively says they’re close to purchasing more–one in Colorado, and two more each in California and Washington. The company is actively soliciting $10 million in startup investments.

“It’s a giant market in search of a brand,” Shively said at a press conference. “We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide.”

It’s an intriguing vision–Shively said he hoped Diego Pellicer could become to weed what Starbucks is to coffee, and he has the support of at least one lawmaker, Washington State Representative¬†Reuven Carlyle. “The fact that an entrepreneur is publicly pushing the envelope around a branding and value-based pricing opportunity, I would say that’s in the water in Seattle,” Carlyle said. “That’s in our DNA … We could have predicted that as much as the rain.”