San Francisco: Vicente Fox, Steve DeAngelo, And Jamen Shively Announce 1st International Pot Summit

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by ScrogBetty, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. ScrogBetty

    ScrogBetty Guest

    7.8 to 13 | David Downs


    Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox will be at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel today at noon for a press conference with national marijuana activists to announce the “First International Summit on Legalization & Use”, which will take place in Leon, Mexico July 18-20.

    Former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively – who made headlines with his new weed venture Diego Pellicer – will be in attendance. Fox and Shively are partners in Diego Pellicer, a company which intends to grow, distribute and sell marijuana in Mexico and the U.S. (Experts have called the idea ludicrous and illegal.) Former Mexico President Fox ran the country from 2000 to 2006, and graduated from Harvard Business School in 1974.

    Oakland dispensary operator Steve DeAngelo of Harborside Health Center will also speak today. Harborside obtained an operating permit from the city of Oakland in 2006. In 2011, U.S. Attorneys in California declared a crackdown on marijuana businesses, which are lawful in the state. In July 2012, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag initiated forfeiture actions against the landlords of Harborside’s locations in Oakland and San Jose. In October 2012, the City of Oakland sued the United States to stop the forfeiture. Their lawsuit was dismissed, and the city appealed the dismissal.

    On Friday, the City of Oakland won a motion to stay the forfeiture pending the outcome of their appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court, an act which allows the 120,000 person collective to remain open for at least another 15 months while the appeal is processed.

    Other representatives from government, academia, and the legal and medical professions as well as the cannabis industry will attend the press conference today.

    “Strategic plans will be discussed for a highly controlled, regulated and taxes system designed to end the failed war on drugs,” a Diego Pellicer announcement states.

    The conference takes place at noon in The Franciscan Room of the Drake Hotel at 450 Powell St., S.F. after a private summit meeting from 9 a.m. to noon.
  2. Monterey Bud

    Monterey Bud Administrator Staff Member

    How Jamen Shively’s Big Marijuana Boast Went South?

    How Jamen Shively’s Big Marijuana Boast Went South?

    In late May, former Microsoft manager Jamen Shively called a press conference on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower. It was six months after the passage of Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana. And Shively, who with partners had founded a pot company called Diego Pellicer, said he had big news.

    Shively’s Microsoft credentials guaranteed major press coverage. Big business has discovered marijuana! went the storyline, which was aided immeasurably by the hype Shively was spouting for his company, named after a great-grandfather who had been a 19th-century vice governor and hemp farmer in the Philippines. “We are going to mint more millionaires than Microsoft with this business,” he told The Seattle Times the day before the press conference.

    It was the “dot-bong” era, he proclaimed earlier to Fox Business. And in an interview with KING-5 TV, he enthused about “a hundred-billion-dollar industry in search of a brand.” He went on: “Never in the history of capitalism—forget American, in the world—has such a giant vacuum existed.” He said Diego would be that brand, one that offered a “premium” pot product akin to luxury cigars.

    As if all that wasn’t sensational enough, Shively brought a megawatt star to his press conference: Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, a critic of the drug war who said he hoped that the developments in Washington state would serve as an example to his home country. Shively got to know Fox when the entrepreneur was running a chain of cybercafes and computer centers in Mexico prior to his work at Microsoft. During the press conference, Shively, looking sharp in a dark jacket and striped dress shirt, beaming confidence and congeniality, wrapped his arm around the former president’s back.
    The room was packed. Reporters and camera crews turned out in droves. Not only Fox but a dozen or so activists, lawyers, and businesspeople involved with marijuana flanked Shively, as did State Rep. Roger Goodman, a legalization advocate. Well-dressed figures, some speaking Spanish, made chitchat and traded business cards.

    Shively opened the affair by quoting the illustrious astronomer Carl Sagan on the outrageousness of marijuana prohibition, then got to the business at hand. “We are moving forward with plans to build a national and eventually international network of cannabis businesses,” he declared.

    Yet all the ambition and glamour did not obscure some pressing questions about Shively’s plans. Despite I-502, distribution of marijuana is still a federal crime. Was Shively brazenly announcing he intended to launch an interstate conspiracy? reporters asked.

    “We are actually conspiring to obey the law,” Shively responded, but he didn’t explain the seeming contradiction. Similarly, he said Diego had come up with a “risk-mitigated investment vehicle” that would allow the company to raise $10 million, yet declined to provide specifics of how investors in what the feds considered a criminal enterprise could possibly avoid risk. Indeed, he declined to provide many specifics at all about his business plan. The event was a strange mixture of attention-grabbing and secretiveness.

    It set off not only a frenzy of media coverage around the country, but a backlash among figures including I-502’s backers, government officials, and longtime marijuana activists. Critics attacked Shively for provoking the feds, for muscling into an industry he didn’t understand, even for insufficient experience being stoned.

    Perhaps the most stinging criticism came from Mark Kleiman, the UCLA public-policy professor hired last spring to serve as the state’s top consultant on I-502 implementation. On his blog The Reality-Based Community, Kleiman used Shively as an example of “insensate greedheads” flocking to the marijuana industry. What’s more, Kleiman said, Shively had “now painted a target on his shirt-front.”

    Kleiman came to harbor even darker thoughts. You’d have to be “completely crazy” to hold a giant press conference announcing you were selling pot, he told Seattle Weekly recently. So he has a hunch that’s not the Diego gang’s actual intention at all. “My real suspicion is that they intend to fleece investors,” he says.

    “You get a lot of money, you pay yourself a lot in salaries—and then you announce that the business has failed. You saw The Producers,” Kleiman says, referring to the movie/musical in which two Broadway producers raise lots of money for a flop.

    His hunch has particular resonance given the track record of Diego co-founder Douglas Anderson, who has, at least until recently, been handling the company’s fundraising. In the early aughts, Anderson sold investments in a tax shelter scheme connected with a horse-breeding farm in Kentucky. A federal judge found the scheme to be a swindle in 2011, and one of its principals later went to federal prison on charges of tax fraud.

    Anderson was not charged, but was found in a related civil judgment to have engaged in some unsavory practices. “I was the victim,” he says nevertheless. He filed for bankruptcy in 2010.

    In recent weeks, Anderson’s role at Diego has become murky. Indeed, the company has gone through a series of shakeups. Most strikingly, Shively has stepped down as CEO, although he says he will continue being the company’s “face” and “visionary.”
  3. Steve Cool

    Steve Cool Guest

    Apparently Jamen Shively and the other business minds at Diego
    Pellicer believe they have found their niche.


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