Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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Miracle-Gro, others get into marijuana business

June 15, 2011

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Custom software, PR firms, lobbyists, stock offerings and major American companies trying to woo business – are those the hallmarks of an up-and-coming social media site?

Perhaps, but they’re also the hallmarks of a more, shall we say, grass-roots industry that is heavy on the social but light on the media.  That would be the burgeoning medical marijuana sector, and a couple of recent developments make it worth a second look for business trend stories and features.

You don’t get much more respectable than the Scotts-Miracle Gro Co., for example – whose fertilizers have been a stalwart for generations of the ‘you kids get off my lawn crowd’ and backyard tomato growers everywhere.  And CEO Jim Hagedorn told the Wall Street Journal this week that it that the lawn and garden company intends to target medical marijuana growers to boost its own revenue.

“I want to target the pot market,” Mr. Hagedorn told the Journal in an interview. “There’s no good reason we haven’t.”

The article includes some good background on legal marijuana sales and also notes that at least a couple of companies connected to the industry – a seed seller and IT firm – are considering IPOs.

Software writers also are eyeing the weed growers, as this article from CIO.com points out, including point-of-sale and other transaction-related applications.

“You know an industry has reached critical mass when vendors start developing software for it, and that time has come for medical marijuana,” the article states.

And this traditional PRNewswire release announces that a company called Medical Marijuana Inc. will  help dispensers with patient management, taxes, compliance with state and local ordinances and other back-of-house administrative matters.

Meanwhile, my jaw dropped last week when a friend with chronic health problems casually mentioned signing up to receive pain-relieving pot here in Michigan.  He extolled the quality and purity of the product and particularly appreciated the above-board, easy home delivery option that the legal.

With marijuana cropping up in this many Google searches and conversations, chances are there is some sort of spin-off business near you.  Talk with dispensers, regulators and others to find small businesses and start-ups attempting to serve the marijuana growers and customers, from legal advisers to lobbyists to delivery firms and garden-supply vendors.

Another resource: CNBC has a television program, Marijuana Inc.,  and Internet channel devoted to the pot business.

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