Walmart of Weed | weGrow warehouse expanding as a franchise

Monday, February 28th, 2011 By


Hydroponics can be used to grow just about anything, and weGrow teaches customers how to do it. Image: Flickr / a_big_big_world / CC-BY-SA

In California, the “Walmart of weed,” weGrow, is opening a second location. The warehouse-sized hydroponic store does not sell marijuana. The so-called “Walmart of weed” offers hydroponic supplies, growing classes and other gardening support.

The Walmart of Weed store

WeGrow stores, which started as iGrow in Sacramento, are warehouse stores dedicated to hydroponic growing. The stores are very careful to not specifically call themselves the “Walmart of Weed” or mention marijuana directly, because growing marijuana is still a federal crime. However, the stores offer classes on hydroponic growing, fertilizers, equipment and a variety of other products targeted toward medical marijuana patients in a 10,000 square foot warehouse.

New locations for weGrow

The California weGrow stores are the first step in what the company hopes will turn into a nationwide presence. There are plans for franchise stores in Oregon, New Jersey, Colorado, Arizona and more in California — all states with medical marijuana laws. The stores people call the “Walmart of weed” do not actually sell medical marijuana, leaving that up to the independent dispensaries that operate even further away from black-and-white legality. Should marijuana ever be legalized, these stores will be well-positioned to offer the product in already established stores. By creating franchise stores, rather than company-owned branches, the company is limiting its exposure to legal culpability.

The difficult legal status of marijuana

Medical marijuana in the United States is in a tough in-between status. The federal government is not specifically prosecuting medical marijuana users, but marijuana is still a Schedule 1 illegal drug. This means marijuana appears on the same list as heroin, GHB, ecstasy, peyote and other addictive drugs that the federal government heavily regulates. Despite this, several states have passed laws that allow legal medical marijuana use. This means that medical marijuana exists in a gray area, where states receive sales taxes and license business activities that federal agents could jail business owners for. This is part of the reason weGrow offers only hydroponic and other growing equipment.


Seattle Times

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