Americans are the most adept people on the planet in finding ways to make a buck off of anything.
Case in point, a former Microsoft manager plans to create a US marijuana brand - a star spangled, red white and blue cannabis plant - that he hopes to import from Mexico.
Jamen Shively, a former Microsoft corporate strategy manager, said he envisions his Seattle-based enterprise becoming the leader in both recreational and medical cannabis - much like Starbucks is the dominant name in coffee, he said.
Shively, 45, whose six years at Microsoft ended in 2009, said he was soliciting investors for $10 million in start-up money.
The use, sale and possession of marijuana remains illegal in the United States under federal law. Two U.S. states have, however, legalized recreational marijuana use and are among 18 states that allow it for medical use.
"It's a giant market in search of a brand," Shively said of the marijuana industry. "We would be happy if we get 40 percent of it worldwide."
A 2005 United Nations report estimated the global marijuana trade to be valued at $142 billion. here
Washington state and Colorado became the first two U.S. states to legalize recreational marijuana when voters approved legalization in November.
Shively laid out his plans, along with his vision for a future in which marijuana will be imported from Mexico, at a Thursday news conference in downtown Seattle.
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."
Importing Mexican pot grown in fields probably controlled by drug cartels. What could go wrong?
Actually, in 5 years, there will probably be a dozen states or more where recreational use is legal. And eventually, the US government will overcome its timidity and recognize the enormous revenue potential of legalizing pot.
No doubt, cannabis production and sales are the thing of the future. It brings to mind that famous line from "The Graduate" where Dustin Hoffman is taken aside by his neighbor who tells him:
Mr. McGuire: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
Substitute "cannabis" for "plastics" and we might be on to something.