Washington 'potrepreneurs' plan to start locally, expand nationally

Feb 25, 2013

You could say pot-related start-ups are baking it into their business plans: the expectation that in the not too distant future marijuana will be legal and accepted in all fifty states. Take Jamen Shively, founder of Diego Pellicer fine marijuana.

Jamen Shively: “So we are in beautiful downtown Seattle and we are standing outside of the Brooks Brothers retailer.”

Taking a page from Brooks Brothers, Shively has a plan to open marijuana retail stores that are high-end, refined. The former Microsoft strategist is thinking a dozen shops in Washington, another 10 in Colorado. But he’s not just thinking locally.

Jamen Shively: “Our goal is to expand nationally throughout all states which eventually legalize it, we hope it will be all 50 states.”

Shively isn’t the only one thinking nationally. Brendan Kennedy is a Yale School of Management graduate who runs a medical marijuana website called Leafly. He too is betting on an end to national marijuana prohibition.

Brendan Kennedy: “I think that we’re slowly seeing the Berlin Wall of cannabis prohibition topple over.”

If and when that happens, “potreprenuers” want to position themselves to get a legal piece of what today is a multi-billion dollar illegal business.