Marijuana Grow Stores Are Popping Up Across The Country And Big Business Wants A Piece Of The Pie
I have a friend from Chicago that works in the home improvement industry, and he swears up and down that True Value Hardware stores are going to start selling medical marijuana grow equipment. He said they won't market it as such, but regardless of how it's marketed, True Value will be selling hydroponic nutrients and grow room caliber lighting sooner than later according to my friend. He wants to remain anonymous because he doesn't want to lose his job, but he says he has heard people at the highest levels talk about it frequently. Considering the current state of True Value stores, a drastic change like selling growing equipment doesn't seem that far fetched.
In the last two years that I have been writing for The Weed Blog, I have read articles about rumors of Home Depot and Lowe's trying to get into the marijuana grow equipment game. The irony of course being that Lowe's and Home Depot both discriminate against employees that use medical marijuana. I don't know how factual the rumors are about Lowe's and Home Depot, but with how much money there is to be made in the medical marijuana grow supply industry, I have to believe they are at least thinking about it. I get quite a few grow items from Home Depot and Lowe's, but those products are different in that they are not directly designed for marijuana gardens. They might as well make the jump.
Miracle-Gro has already stated that it plans to throw its hat into the medical marijuana grow arena. "I want to target the pot market," Scotts Chief Executive Jim Hagedorn said in an interview. "There's no good reason we haven't." Miracle-Gro is of course sold at almost all major stores across the nation, so even if stores like Lowe's and Home Depot don't directly get into the marijuana growing supply industry, they may be forced to by companies that supply the items for their shelves.
Are there any benefits to big box stores entering the medical marijuana grow supply industry? As I stated before, a big percentage of medical marijuana growers already go to these stores to get building supplies and whatnot, why not get your nutrients and everything else there too? One good benefit would be increased access to supplies. Right now, there are generally only a couple of grow shops in the bigger cities in my home state of Oregon, and they are only open limited hours. I don't know if it's that way in other states (I'd imagine Colorado and California have more per capita), but at the very least big box stores would increase access to grow supplies.
It might bring the prices down on items as well. Anyone who has made trips to the local grow store knows it's usually not a cheap visit. If prices went down on Bud Blaster and Hygrozyme, I know I would be happier :) I wrote an article titled, 'How Much Does It Cost To Grow Medical Marijuana.' If big box stores entered into the market, the laws of supply and demand would start to take over, and no doubt prices would drop. However, at what cost? I can't think of many more benefits to the pro side of the argument, but as always, I invite others to comment below to add to the conversation.
The first con side of the argument that comes to mind is that big box stores are part of corporate America, and corporate America represents just about everything that is evil in America. Do we really want the 1% involved in the marijuana industry, in any way? I don't mind grow stores making profits, but when profits are the only motivating factor, as is the case with corporate America, I think it's obviously a losing situation.
Would big box stores even know what supplies to stock? How would corporate America know what the best cloning supplies are? Or the best veg nutrients? I think big box stores would be able to get the right lighting stock since it's pretty straight forward, but what about soil and other items? There's A LOT of junk nutrients out there, most of which are the cheapest, and I can almost guarantee big box stores would go for the profit hype rather than what actually works. I guess they could hire a master grower to help direct that area of their inventory, however, I guarantee they would limit the input from the master grower once it conflicted with the bottom line.
One thing that might occur is that big box stores grow out of the grow supply industry, rather than the industry getting 'invaded' by corporate America. WeGrow stores are expanding at a rapid pace. To quote the weGrow website, "From the largest showroom of hydroponic equipment to training you on increasing your harvest, weGrow is a one-stop-shop for cultivators." If weGrow keeps prices low, demand high, and continues to expand, it could quickly become the big box store that keeps other stores like Home Depot, True Value, and Lowe's out of the industry. Then again, the big box stores could already know this, which could force them to take the leap. I guess only time will tell.
What do TWB readers think? Do you like that grow stores are a cottage industry? I know that I personally like the guys at my preferred grow store, and I would hate to see them lose their jobs. Then again, maybe they would get paid more and have benefits if they worked for a bigger outfit. Then on the other hand, they might not be able to smoke weed in the backroom if they worked for a bigger outfit...don't think customers don't know guys lol.