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May 2013
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A curiosity

A lot of people are now talking about Jamen Shively – a name I had not heard before Thursday. Here’s the basics:

A former Microsoft executive plans to create the first U.S. national marijuana brand, with cannabis he hopes to eventually import legally from Mexico, and said he was kicking off his business by acquiring medical pot dispensaries in three U.S. states.

Well, isn’t that special.

It’s an incredible attention getter and has managed to launch him into the spotlight, but as a business plan it makes about as much sense as selling mineral rights on Mars.

If it’s legit, then I see it mostly as a distraction and have very little interest.

The one glimmer in it is the participation of Vicente Fox.

Joining him was former Mexican President Vicente Fox, a longtime Shively acquaintance who has been an advocate of decriminalizing marijuana. Fox said he was there to show his support for Shively’s company but has no financial stake in it.

“What a difference it makes to have Jamen here sitting at my side instead of Chapo Guzman,” said Fox, referring to the fact he would rather see Shively selling marijuana legally than the Mexican drug kingpin selling it illegally. “This is the story that has begun to be written here.”

Now that’s a powerful message.

If that’s Shively’s game (and I certainly have no information that it is), then I could see a very interesting time with him dancing circles around the feds, openly talking about creating big international marijuana business and organizing his “company,” but without actually doing anything, or owning anything, illegal under federal law.

It would leave the feds looking weak, and help the public realize that even big business marijuana is better than big business illegal marijuana that we have now.

That could be fun. But again, it’s too early to tell.

There was one totally gratuitous argument in the article that made absolutely no sense at all.

Washington state’s marijuana consultant, Mark Kleiman, said he was skeptical of Shively’s plans, and feared that the businessman is seeking to profit off others’ addiction.

Really? That’s where you needed to go? Does the consumer have no rights or responsibilities in your universe?

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47 comments to A curiosity

  • claygooding

    Mark doesn’t want anyone but the feds,prisons,police and rehab quacks profiting from anyone’s “addictions” and anyone that is attempting to bypass any of those will be his enemy.

    I put the hash marks around addictions because marijuana addiction,even if the percentage of users were as high as alcohol or tobacco users,would not cause society the grief addiction to those legal substances has and is causing nor the health costs they do.

  • muggles

    I like that this continues to shake up the big conversation!

  • DonDig

    I saw a version of this yesterday for the first time as well, and it certainly seems interesting and controversial.

    Kleiman’s comments consistently seem to have little to do with his hired mission, and are oddly OT much of the time. That’s so weird. Maybe he just can’t keep quiet about his moral views, is confused as to why he was hired, or has a not so hidden agenda.

  • Servetus

    The lynchpin to Sabet’s and Kleiman’s war on marijuana users is their belief in the herb’s addictive qualities. For the two non-scientists, their beliefs compel them to assume that the public is just as clueless of the etiology of addiction as they themselves.

    Thanks to prohibition, no public or scientific consensus exists on marijuana addiction. Lacking a clear addiction biomarker, the specter of marijuana addiction floats in a world of nocebos, public hysteria, and ad hoc definitions of addiction promoted by those who profit from drug testing and coerced drug treatments. So long as the cannabinoid addiction question isn’t clarified, public employees such as Sabet and Kleiman will continue to act on their uninformed assumptions to freely exploit the drug enforcement system and demand solutions to problems that don’t exist.

  • divadab

    I’m not sure who is morally worse – this Shively character, who can’t wait to offshore cannabis jobs to foreigners (the WalMart approach), or Kleiman, who is supposed to be an expert advisor to the WA LCB, sounding off about marijuana “addiction”.

    IMHO this explains the draft regulations Kleiman and the LCB have come up with, which seem designed to exclude from the legal cannabis market the very people now running the cannabis black market. (By excluding anyone with a felony, even a cannabis felony).

    Here’s my question for Kleiman – how on earth are you going to enable a legal cannabis market if you don;t provide a mechanism for the current market operators to enter the legitimate market? If you don’t, you guarantee the illegal market will continue.

    Perhaps this is Kleiman’s true aim. His words make me very suspicious that he is trying to subvert the will of the people.

  • Tony Aroma

    It still boggles my mind that Kleiman is WA’s mj consultant!

    “It’s very hard for me to understand why anybody seriously interested in being in the marijuana business, which after all is against the federal law, would so publicly announce his conspiracy to break that law,” said Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.

    Isn’t that exactly what Kleiman is doing in his current job? I’d say WA’s mj regulations are a public announcement of a conspiracy to break federal law?

  • claygooding

    I don’t fear big business and marijuana,,I welcome it because big business and greed started it and big business and greed will end it,,as I sit here on my sack of seeds.

  • Daniel Williams

    Now, if it was a guy from Apple…

  • Pococurante

    Really? That’s where you needed to go? Does the consumer have no rights or responsibilities in your universe?

    And the circular firing squad continues…

  • Jean Valjean

    Shively was supplied by central casting under contract to producer kevin sabet, for his new blockbuster horror movie “Legal-maggedon”… you’ll shudder when you see the true face of evil as big business takes over the merrywanna industry…ooooh!scary!

  • Servetus

    OT. The last decade has seen prohibs fight desperately to establish a causative relationship between cannabinoids and schizophrenia, without showing much evidence beyond a miniscule, inconclusive blip on a graph.

    Meanwhile, back at the lab, scientists just established a causative relationship between levels of lead and schizophrenia in mice, demonstrating conclusively that it is possible to cite a triggering factor for schizophrenia that doesn’t include marijuana.

    The next time someone claims a link between pot and schiz, it might be useful to ask them how much lead the patient ingested prior to smoking cannabis.

  • Paul McClancy

    Kleiman is an interesting breed of prohibitionist. On one hand he prefers a pseudo-hippy legalization scheme which would exclude cannabis from any market transaction. On the other hand he creates a false dilemma claiming use will go up if the price is too low: thus raises the price near or above black market value.

    The latter portion of my paragraph shows a thinking scheme most prohibs share (that I’ve come across). I’ll give them their moot point that use goes up but then they stretch this logic to “potential use = potential abuse”. It gets even worse when I probe further, to which most prohibs answer, “potential use might as well be inevitable abuse, so lets keep the status quo”.

    • B. Snow

      That was some fine carpentry/wordsmithry right there = hit the nail directly on the head, Kleiman’s shiny bald head!

      In another semi-related line-of-thought – when Erin Burnett was interviewing him & asked him about his use/non-use his answer/non-answer… Well, I guess it just seemed entirely too clever to have been his own.

      His – ‘If I admit prior use that’s asking to be arrested’ [Note:I’m paraphrasing that a bit] (OR IMHO it’s more likely = He’d immediately be *written off* by the prohibs – as pro-pot, non-neutral, not to be trusted…)
      But his other-end of the spectrum ‘non-answer’ was basically ‘Admit that I don’t know what I’m talking about…’ [Again, I’m paraphrasing – but not as much],

      The one thing that stood-out *to me* in that was his tone of voice = it sounded like he was basically acknowledging some prior use [Heck – maybe it was 5, 10, 20 years ago? But, it was enough to know the obvious (to most people) = marijuana wasn’t created by Satan to steal your children’s souls = just before he created ‘rock & roll’ music, etc.]

      It sounded *intentionally* reassuring & pragmatic/realistic = which really isn’t exactly “par for the course” when it comes to Kleiman… = ???

      Sounded like he realized long ago it’s not dangerous, but he hates hippies (or whatever = something), and when realized that he could “straddle the fence” on the subject and make a career out of it he jumped on-board – but he’s not set to retire just yet.

      So, he can’t just come out & say:
      “Oh, OKAY -frak this- I’m sick of it, let the dirty-hippies have their wacky-tabacky Kevin – it won’t kill anyone. (Probably not at all, and certainly not in any statistically significant number.
      No really, it won’t = No matter what your Auntie Reagan & your Mommy told you in 1980-something. NO, it won’t… And, if you “got addicted to it” = Well, you’re just a pussy Sabet, now please STFU already! Time to go find another career, and For the Love of God – stop calling me.” And, Scene…

      Whaddaya think?

  • darkcycle

    I dunno….Shiveley’s big deal was to announce that he found a way to shield his investors from the Feds. But they are investing in an illegal commodity. That is frowned upon….and I don’t see how it could work. I smell a “Pump-and Dump”.
    And he’s gonna grow it in Mexico? Seriously? There are folks down there already in the Biz who dislike competition rather a lot. And they handle their business disputes by jamming a truck tire over your arms and torso and dousing it with gasoline.
    And importation is problematic. And quality suspect. And their methods are still just coming out of the 1970’s And the problems just keep coming.
    But I know from the pieces in Business Insider and Forbes that there are a whole bunch of suckers out there PANTING to get a toehold in what they hope will be the first new growth industry in decades. So the guy who runs the FIRST pump and dump is gonna get rich, rich, rich. Anybody got a thought on this?….remember that other “publicly traded” company? It’s gone now, but they sucked some sheckles out of some folks…

    • claygooding

      Money draws money Dark and right now our investors are looking for the biggest bang for their buck,,since marijuana use and demand is not going away getting in on the ground floor might be a gamble but the true magnates of empires started out on a gamble. I am just glad investors did not buy Kev-Kev’s basket of lemons!

      Welcome to ancient technologies becoming the “plastics” of the future.

      I am not saying a limited market for some growers won’t exist,,but going to prison for selling/producing black market weed will be twice the bummer if everyone else is toking on freely and they ain’t.

      Even with legalization the best motto is the one I have pushed since 2009,,Grow your own marijuana,,don’t buy no marijuana,don’t sell no marijuana and there will be no crime or violence involved.
      l
      Regardless,,I refuse to pay any sin tax on marijuana too any government because I refuse to pay for the boots they used on my neck for the last 46 years. I would pay a growers fee to grow my own to my local government,,they are the ones that will be charged with enforcement and should receive the funding direct instead of filtered through bureaucrats.

    • Tony Aroma

      You’re spot on about keeping production in Mexico. It’s a bad idea for many reasons, some of which you mentioned. Unless there’s some legal loophole being exploited, it makes no sense at all.

      In addition to the other problems, I can’t see how creating a new business model based entirely on outsourcing would be very popular these days. I have no problem with an entrepreneur trying to make a buck. But if it’s going to be completely based on foreign labor/production, I’d be very much against it. And I think for that reason alone, this idea is not going to get much support. We send enough jobs out of our country already.

  • claygooding

    Our answer should be “So What?”

    If you add up all the dangers and harms that “could be created” they do not equal the destruction the war on marijuana is costing or causing.

  • Cliff

    I don’t see how he will be able to sell Mexican brick weed at a premium, because that is what he will have to do to compete with local growers who will produce a much superior product, which requires no interstate or international transportation.

    • claygooding

      As long as the federal govt can keep reefer madness going and indoor production of legal marijuana the outdoor growers in Mexico can produce a lot cheaper,,,many times cheaper.
      And in a legal market it wouldn’t come in bricks,,,I look for rolled joints,already cleaned and manicured loose weed or edibles/tinctures.
      In the last two years the brick weed has improved and they have reduced seeds in them by 60>80%
      The days of the “bud” are limited,,IMO and most people will never see them,,just pictures of how it used to be(and still is in my cabinet)

      • Matthew Meyer

        Buying rolled joints is like buying a glass of wine already in the glass.

        But you may be right.

        And what about concentrates?

        • claygooding

          The only model I have read was some of WA’s plan,,labels on all edibles with thc/cbd levels and milligrams of product in edibles,,not sure how they will label cannabutter or products made with it.
          Also wondering how they will classify hash and hash oil or even if they will sell those.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Gosh, it was really a pleasant surprise for me when LEAP showed up on the radar and subsequently destroyed one of the most annoying rhetorical devices used by the prohibitionist parasites and their sycophants, the hysterical statement that if you thought cannabis should be legal all you have to do is ask a cop. Sure, I still hear that twaddle from time to time but years and years ago it was a standard argument that I heard daily, or at least approaching that frequency of use.

    Once that one was disarmed the title of “one of the most annoying rhetorical devices used by the prohibitionist parasites and their sycophants” became the “there’s no such thing as medical merrywanna. If you think that medicinal cannabis should be legal all you have to do is ask any “legitimate” doctor. He’ll tell you it’s a scam.”

    I seem to vaguely recall the existence of The New England Journal of Medicine.

    Survey: 76 percent of doctors approve of medical marijuana use

    A majority of doctors would approve the use of medical marijuana, according to a new survey.

    “We were surprised by the outcome of polling and comments, with 76 percent of all votes in favor of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes — even though marijuana use is illegal in most countries,” the survey’s authors wrote.

    The results appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 30. It included responses from 1,446 doctors from 72 different countries and 56 different states and provinces in North America. In addition, 118 doctors posted comments about their decision on the survey.
    /snip/

  • strayan

    If this was about women’s right to vote, Kleiman would be the guy hand wringing about the potential downsides of suffrage and the cost of the extra ballot papers. I’d tell this version of Kleiman the same thing I’d tell the one we’ve actually got: “suck it up fatty!”

    I agree (with Kleiman) that there are costs associated with cannabis dependence. I just don’t understand why he keeps banging on about it when we have been paying for the costs of cannabis dependence in addition to the costs of cannabis prohibition for more than 50 years.

    Excuse me if I think costs associated with the lawful availability of cannabis are a trivial concern when prohibition related violence, growth of organised crime, corruption and human rights abuses are tearing societies apart. The structural violence at play here is on a scale comparable to slavery and yet here we have an over-fed, self (now government) appointed ‘expert’ concern trolling the shit out of us.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      They never say it because they think that it goes without saying, the laws of cannabis prohibition have prevented a significant by orders of magnitude number of people from suffering the fiction of merrywanna addiction.

      It’s not the visible parts of the hysterical rhetoric which we can easily disprove that matters. It’s the parts of their arguments that have absolutely no provable basis in reality. How in the world can I disprove the assertion that because of prohibition my next door neighbor does not choose to enjoy cannabis? How do I disprove the assertion that because he never made that choice he isn’t a cannabis or (some) other kind of “addict”?

      All prohibitionist arguments are built on the presumption that prohibition works. By works I mean that there is a large cohort of the general population who would be drug addicts absent the existence of prohibition.

  • War Vet

    Since Mexican weed usually costs $400 a pound, we should all buy several pounds of it and bag up grams and purposefully advertise it as ‘Elementary School’s Little Beginner Tokes’ –starting with the first gram at the door steps of Kevin and Kleiman. We’ll make a trail leading them to Oklahoma and ending at the tornados coming once again. It should work . . . tornados be damned for these moral crusaders. Hmm, that may not work: all the weed would be blown away . . . tell them there is an ONDCP and Anti-Legalization meeting at some barn right in the tornado’s path. That might not work too . . . I think I saw Kevin and Kleiman riding and swirling their bikes around the inside of the big twister yesterday . . . I think they eventually morphed into green female witches. I think splashing them with bong water will stop them once and for all.

    • I/got/that/too

      ” I think I saw Kevin and Kleiman riding and swirling their bikes around the inside of the big twister yesterday.”

  • Exponential Incompetency Archives

    Random Pages
    Big Book of Plenty Pity

    I am Not a Crook.
    Couch; heh heh

    Just Say No
    Couch; har har hmmm

    DARE
    Couch; mwaHAHAHA

    See Something Say Something
    Couch; BWAahhHAHAHAHAHAHaaHAHAHAHA

  • Freeman

    Just what we need: Looks like Shively wants to do for the marijuana market what Paul Allen and Ticketmaster did for live entertainment — buy up the market and then jack the prices way up with “convenience fees”.

    Leave it to a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager to completely ruin what should otherwise be a pleasant experience. Next thing you know, you’ll have to accept an “end user agreement” that “licenses” you to use the product (but only in ways approved by the licensor), and you’ll be accused of “piracy” for sharing a joint with your friends without paying for extra license fees. After that, they’ll extort license fees from their competitors who wish to avoid impossibly expensive civil trials with nebulous claims of unauthorized use of their undefined “intellectual property”, ala Microsoft vs. Android phone manufacturers.

    Maybe it’s just me getting old, but the way things are going in Washington, it’s looking like legalized marijuana could soon have folks longing for the “good old days” of prohibition when grass was cheaper and freer. Go Colorado!

    A wholesale tax on recreational marijuana was capped at 15% until the year 2017 as a way to ensure that prices of the drug will be kept low. “The idea is to put the underground marijuana market out of business,” Tvert said.

    • Cliff

      Just what we need: Looks like Shively wants to do for the marijuana market what Paul Allen and Ticketmaster did for live entertainment — buy up the market and then jack the prices way up with “convenience fees”.

      Enron did basically the same thing with energy. One flaw in his cunning plan, there is already a market in place and if he gouges customers, they will know exactly where to go for a better, cheaper product.

  • My own opinion is that we need more Shively’s and fewer Bloomberg’s and DuPont’s. Not much difference otherwise.

  • Servetus

    Doctor Gabor Mate writes on addiction and ayahuasca therapy, thankfully clobbers mind-body duality, at Alternet:

    http://tinyurl.com/kszettm

    • “What if, furthermore, we understood something in the West which has been the underlying core insight of Eastern spiritual pathways and aboriginal shamanic pathways around the world, which is that human beings are not their personalities, we’re not our thoughts, we’re not our emotions, we are not our dysfunctional or functional dynamics, but that at the core there is a true self that is somehow connected to—in fact not connected to but part of—nature and creation.”

      “An illness from that perspective represents a loss of that connection, a loss of that unity, a loss of that belonging to a much larger entity. And therefore, to treat the illness or the symptom as the problem is actually to ignore the real possibility that the symptom and the illness are themselves symptoms, rather than the fundamental problems.” – Doctor Gabor Mate
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      These kinds of discussions are really necessary. Treating drug addiction as a brain disease is a long and losing road without a shift in viewpoint and philosophy that holds together the sorry mess that we have for “treatment” in our current society. The “all is brain” doc’s need a paradigm shift before they cure us all.

      Frankenstein comes to mind.

      • The DSM-5 is a symptom of the crippled type of thinking that is leading us down a path to ruin. This type of help, while seemingly well intentioned, is turning America into a treatment experiment for the ignorant and gleeful entrepreneurs who don’t really have a clue about any fundamental knowledge of human nature and could care less.

        • Cliff

          This type of help, while seemingly well intentioned…

          …is what the road to hell is paved with. (There FTFY)

      • Duncan20903

        Weren’t Dr. Frankenstein’s experiments FDA approved and just an attempt to cure the fiction of merrywanna addiction?

  • DdC

    Bloomberg: MMJ One Of The Greatest Hoaxes
    Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks arguments for legalizing medical marijuana are half-baked. “Medical, my foot,” Bloomberg– who has admitted to enjoying smoking weed when he was younger– told John Gambling during his weekly radio show.

    “There is no medical. This is one of the great hoaxes of all time,” he said, suggesting legalizing medical pot would just make it easier for recreational users to light up.

    * Using Pot To Save Brains!

    * 76 Percent of Doctors Would Approve Med Marijuana
    The survey included responses from 1,446 doctors from 72 different countries and 56 different states and provinces in North America. In addition, 118 doctors posted comments about their decision on the survey.

    The Great Marijuana Hoax By Allen Ginsberg

  • Freeman

    Kleiman has added a footnote to his post on the subject.

    The firm’s website explains how they’re going to conspire to commit federal felonies while remaining “completely legal”: “We are committed to building our business under the assumption that the federal government will permit us to operate” wherever cannabis is legal under state law.

    Tell me: How many legs does a lamb have, if you are committed to building your business under the assumption that the tail is a leg?

    My comment to that was “Tell me again, what is your role in implementing Washington state’s plan to be one of those places “wherever cannabis is legal under state law” — making legs out of lamb’s tails?”

    Such a conflicted, self-contradictory position he’s put himself in! He’s a cognitive contortionist! I don’t remember where I read it (probably here) but it’s a great line: Marijuana has some extremely bizarre effects — on those who don’t use it.

    • darkcycle

      Left this for old Shiny-Dome: “Well, having spent the majority of yesterday afternoon meeting with my prospective business partner, and having backed the numbers out of the current proposed scheme, there were two hard and fast conclusions we took away. The first was-Shively is a joke, he can’t do what he’s proposing. He’s selling castles in the clouds. The second is, it will be quite a feat for the legal market with the proposed levels of taxation to ever take a sizeable chunk of the Black Market away. The numbers aren’t there. I am actually beginning to wonder if there will be any Marijuana available in the State Stores at all. I not only do not see big business taking over pot in Washington, I do not see ANY business taking over the pot in Washington. We are moving ahead on the premise that pretty quickly the State will have to come to the same conclusion. Otherwise, Washington State is on a fast track to a grey market that you aren’t going to be able to tax”

  • Freeman

    Washington state’s marijuana consultant, Mark Kleiman, said he was skeptical of Shively’s plans, and feared that the businessman is seeking to profit off others’ addiction.

    Yeah, just like that evil Juan Valdez, profiting off others’ addiction to caffeine. And just look at all the problems that has caused the world — the ill effects of prohibition are no comparison! If someone can be addicted to it, and someone else can profit from it, we should ban it! BAN CAFFEINE WORLDWIDE NOW! Then hire me to help re-legalize it one state at a time!

    *thwack!*

    Uhh, sorry. Just trying to understand Kleiman’s thinking on this and I guess I got carried away. Thanks, couch-mates, for slapping me back to reality!

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    This one is from the “if you thought the propaganda couldn’t get even more ridiculous and surreal, then you need to guess again” category: Apparently we now have a “czar” sitting on our side of the table.

    Goddammit DC will you please file a lawsuit against the State of Washington to get that asshole fired?

    • darkcycle

      I’d LOVE to. Unfortunately he’s filled his contract and his advice is now in the State’s hands. The even seem to be taking him seriously. BUT there are significant problems ahead both for the State, and for any business that tries to enter the Cannabis market. You know as well as I, that numbers don’t lie. And the State has a math problem on it’s hands, math isn’t their subject, and they’re not the brightest kids in class.
      I’d love to actually talk to you on this one, Duncan, and see what you think. Had a little business meeting with my prospective partner yesterday. You should log into your FB account and chat me up sometime soon, Eh?