Opinion Brief

The 'Walmart of Weed': Coming to a town near you?

The ambitious pot farmers superstore weGrow opens its first franchise. Has medical marijuana gone mainstream?

The video: Oakland-based weGrow, a hydroponics store that bills itself as "the Walmart of Weed," opened its first franchise over the weekend, in Sacramento. And if business is good in California, weGrow plans to expand to other states flirting with the medical marijuana craze: Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Oregon. The growing-supply warehouse store doesn't sell marijuana itself, but proudly proclaims itself the first one-stop supply shop for legal pot growers. "We're all about coming out of the shadows," says company founder Dhar Mann. (Watch a news report below.)The reaction: "Clearly, there is a hungry customer base" for weGrow's products, says Ariel Schwartz in Fast Company. Perhaps the biggest sign that weGrow is a mainstream business is the "ugly divorce" going on between its cofounders, says Josh Harkinson in Mother Jones. Derek Peterson accuses Mann of running the business as a "hydroponzi scheme," with unpaid bills and financial shenanigans, and plans to open a competing growers' warehouse. That's probably a smart move, says Matthew McKenzie in AllBusiness. Companies that started flouting prohibition before its demise "were in a great position to profit from the legalization of alcohol." May I recommend "opening a bakery or two" next to weGrow? Watch Geraldo talk about weGrow in this Fox segment:

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