Thursday, July 3, 2014
US News & World Report has this notable new article about a notable new player in the marijuana industry. The piece is headlined "Former GOP Governor Looks to Build the 'Microsoft of Marijuana': Gary Johnson is now CEO of a firm that puts 'clean-your-house marijuana' in lozenges," and here are excerpts:
He founded a successful business, served two terms as a Republican governor of New Mexico and climbed Mount Everest. Now, Gary Johnson has set his sights on marijuana.
Nevada-based startup Cannabis Sativa Inc. announced Johnson as its new president and CEO on Tuesday, and he sees the potential for explosive nationwide growth. “I don't know if I’m the Bill Gates of marijuana, but we might be the Microsoft of marijuana,” he says. "The whole country is going to legalize marijuana in 10 years, and then so goes the world."
The company’s first product is a marijuana-infused lozenge, which Johnson says he’s tried several times. “It’s very, very pleasant,” Johnson says. “Rather than a go-to-sleep marijuana, it’s a clean-your-house marijuana.”
The company has sold some of the lozenges – for which it developed special marijuana strains – in California, where medical marijuana is legal. It is preparing a marketing campaign and working to develop local partners to produce the candy across the country....
Residents in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia – with the possible addition of Oklahoma – appear poised to vote on legalization in November. And Florida voters are considering a relatively lax medical marijuana initiative.
Johnson sees the tide of change and hopes to position Cannabis Sativa as an industry leader. Before serving as governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, Johnson was an entrepreneur. He worked construction jobs in his teens before founding Big J Enterprises, which he built into a 1,000-employee construction company. He sold the firm in 1999. He’s proud of that business experience, and hopes to recreate his earlier success.
Johnson has long been a supporter of liberalizing drug laws. In 1999, the Clinton administration’s drug czar, Barry McCaffrey, flew to New Mexico to chastise the governor, calling his positions an "embarrassment" and "uninformed” at a press conference, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. "He ought to be ashamed of himself telling a bunch of college students that marijuana was wonderful,” McCaffrey said. “He's getting some of these sound bites out of Rolling Stone magazine.”
Johnson held a competing press conference in which he defended his opposition to the war on drugs and insisted on a taxed, regulated market.