NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 01/24/14 -- Seattle is famous for its coffee and even more famous for Starbucks. That's the coffee chain no one ever imagined could blossom into a more than $50 billion business selling a cup of Joe. Well, don't look now but the city may soon be home to another retail chain that stakes its future on a single product, but this time it's marijuana and one man is trying to make that a reality. Former Microsoft exec Jamen Shively has become quite a recognizable name in the marijuana debate, and his recognition may very well be Plandaí Biotechnology's (OTCQB: PLPL) gain.
Shively is no stranger to marijuana as the great-great grandson of Diego Pellicer, the former Vice Governor of the Philippine Island of Cebu and the largest grower of hemp in the world in the late 1800s. Diego Pellicer once supplied hemp rope to the Spanish Armada during the Spanish American War.
The marijuana entrepreneur co-founded Diego Pellicer, Inc. to create the first retail brand of cannabis in the U.S. and eventually worldwide. Marijuana, both legal and black market, is a $100 billion a year industry in the U.S. alone, a number not lost on Shively, "It's a giant market in search of a brand. We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide."
It was likely his Microsoft stint that made Shively a media darling of sorts after he announced his vision to become the leader in both medical and recreational cannabis. Since that proclamation, he's found his name in many national headlines and has been a guest on just about every news program from CNN to FOX Business to ABC News. Dope Magazine even suggested Shively might be the "Bill Gates of Cannabis."
Shively also plans to launch a study of the effectiveness of concentrated cannabis oil in the treatment of cancer and other illnesses, and it's this desire to enter the medical side of marijuana that Plandaí hopes to capitalize on. Plandaí announced a week ago that it has partnered with Diego Pellicer, Inc. and Diego Pellicer Worldwide Inc. to use the Diego Pellicer name on its Phytofare medical and pharmaceutical cannabis extracts.
This is a genius idea for both Plandaí and Shively because it allows the biotech firm to build brand recognition for its cannabis products while the industry continues to deal with legislation, legalization and growth; meanwhile, for Shively, it allows his brand to be associated with medical marijuana products. Shively said of the agreement, "We couldn't be happier with our partnership with Plandaí. Their Phytofare technology appears to be years ahead of the competition as it relates to bioavailability and will help anchor the Diego brand as more states legalize cannabis for medical and/or recreational applications."
Let's face it no matter how controversial the debate, Jamen Shively has a platform and a rather large one at that, and it's that platform that should allow Diego Pellicer to become the brand at the tip of your tongue when you discuss cannabis. So, for Plandaí, that's not a bad ride to be on in what is the hottest debate in the country.
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