SEATTLE - Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft executive, plans to spend the next year researching and building a retail marijuana business that he hopes will bring legitimacy to a long-illegal industry.
Shively said he brainstormed the idea after a few bong hits.
He plans to name the business after his great-grandfather, Diego Pellicer, who was the world's largest marijuana producer in the late 19th century.
"He was supplying hemp rope made from the marijuana tree to the Spanish armada during the Spanish-American War," Shively said. "So I've got marijuana in my blood, so to speak."
Shively said that his product won't be cheap.
"By creating the category of premium marijuana, we want to position it similar to a fine cognac, a fine brandy, a fine cigar," Shively said. "Something to be savored and enjoyed in small quantities by responsible adults."
It will be legal for adults 21 and older to possess marijuana in Washington state starting Dec. 6.
The state of Washington estimates it will make about $2 billion over the next five years on marijuana taxes alone.
Shively believes that others states will eventually legalize marijuana as well.
"The buzz is in the air," Shively said. "This is a new industry in the making, and it's going to be a giant industry and the state of Washington is going to lead the way. What Kentucky became for bourbon, the state of Washington is becoming for marijuana. It's going to be a huge boost to the economy."
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