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New York -- Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, announced plans to invest $100 million over the next three years in a national chain of marijuana stores. The stores would sell both medical-use and adult-use (recreational) cannabis. Shively is now CEO of San Diego-based Diego Pellicer, which describes itself as the first legal premium marijuana retailer in the United States.
While the use, sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law, two states (Washington and Colorado) have legalized recreational marijuana use. Both states are among 18 states that allow it for medical use.
Speaking at a press conference in Seattle, Shively said within three years, he expects to open a dozen branded stores in the state of Washington, another dozen stores in Colorado and as many as hundreds in California. (Currently, only medical marijuana is legal in the Golden State, voters are widely expected to legalize recreational pot in 2016). He also said he was launching his business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three states.
Shively’s announcement created a media storm but it was also met with some skepticiam. Critics said he offered few details about the acquisitions, and even less about the investors he had lined up and how the investments would not violate the federal prohibition of marijuana.