Microsoft Vet Models Marijuana Chain After Starbucks

Former Microsoft exec says he wants to run the Starbucks of pot

Washington state and Colorado voted to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana last fall, and it took practically no time at all for someone to say, “Hey, I could probably make a whole lot of money like that.”

At a news conference in Seattle Thursday, former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively discussed his plans to become the Howard Schultz of Mary Jane by starting a new, Starbucks-esque marijuana brand that he intends to expand into a national chain of marijuana stores as other states vote to legalize in coming years.

If Starbucks could do it for coffee, he says, he sees no reason the model can’t work for marijuana.
“Tens of millions” of customers will be served, Shively predicted, taking a page from the McDonald’s playbook.

According to The Stranger, the company is named Diego Pellicer after Shively’s great-great grandfather, and it has already joined up with the Northwest Patient Resource Center, a chain of medical marijuana dispensaries, and several dispensaries in Colorado and California. The Northwest Patient Resource Center locations will be rebranded as Diego Pellicer stores, Shively said, and the company would eventually employ thousands of people nationwide as marijuana baristas.

“Yes, we are Big Marijuana,” Shively said at the press conference.

There are obviously a lot of legal hurdles standing in Shively's way, but he remains optimistic about his ambitions. Standing in front of a menu board of marijuana varieties designed to evoke tequila marketing and fast-food sign boards, Shively told reporters that he intends to invest $100 million over the next three years while opening a dozen Diego Pellicer stores each in Washington and Colorado, and potentially hundreds in California. 


Recent studies have indicated that marijuana can help curb obesity, and some chefs have already started experimenting with the exciting new ingredient. So if Shively has his way, we might be seeing a lot more marijuana on menus around the country. In the meantime, check out some of our best marijuana recipes to see how some people deal with their munchies.