Scott's Miracle-Gro sees high potential in the medical marijuana market. The otherwise-wholesome home and garden company isn't shy about saying so, either. "I want to target the pot market," said the company's chief executive, Jim Hagedorn, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "There's no good reason we haven't." Here, a short guide to Hagedorn's potential marijuana initiative:
Who is this guy, anyway?
Hagedorn isn't your typical CEO. The 55-year-old licensed pilot — who took over the company from his father — reportedly enjoys flying himself to and from meetings, occasionally wearing jeans and sneakers, and dropping F-bombs.
What is his plan?
Hagedorn wants to offer products aimed at medical marijuana growers. He won't necessarily create his own pot-specific product line, though. Instead, Miracle-Gro would likely buy established niche soil companies that would help marijuana grow.
But isn't marijuana illegal?
Yes, on a federal level. But 16 states, including California and Colorado, have legalized the drug. Even the feds have eased up since President Obama took office, with fewer raids on medical dispensaries than in previous years.
What does Miracle-Gro stand to gain?
Lots of new customers. An exact amount is unclear, but the medical marijuana industry is expected to reach $1.7 billion in sales this year alone, according to a recent report. Scotts, by contrast, takes in $2.9 billion in annual sales. That makes marijuana a potentially important source of sales growth, which Scotts needs. It relies heavily on big box stores such as Home Depot and Wal-Mart, whose customers are watching their spending as the economy falters.
Is anyone else jumping on the medical marijuna trend?
Actually, yes. Software developers are reportedly creating applications that would help dispensary operators get straight to the customer. In Sacramento, Calif., the first medical marijuana franchise, WeGro — the "Wal-Mart of Weed" — opened in March. And on Tuesday, former talk-show host Montel Williams opened his own medical marijuana dispensary in California.