It's being called the Walmart of weed: a 10,000-square-foot Sacramento gardening emporium that opens Saturday with how-to experts and merchandise to help medical-marijuana patients grow pot.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — It’s being called the Walmart of weed: a 10,000-square-foot Sacramento gardening emporium that opens Saturday with how-to experts and merchandise to help medical-marijuana patients grow pot.
The weGrow hydroponics store is the first national franchise for a company that bills itself as a supply-and-training destination for legal pot growers. In coming months, weGrow plans to open stores in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Oregon.
The enterprise started in Oakland, Calif., last year as a warehouse store called iGrow. It doesn’t sell marijuana or grow it in the store.
Yet the gardening emporium attracted national attention for its unbridled embrace of the marijuana culture. It featured an on-site doctor offering medical-pot recommendations and sales staff eagerly pitching grow lights and nutrients while teaching people how to raise bountiful cannabis buds.
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The Oakland location is being reorganized as a nonretail distribution hub for a network of retail hydroponics outlets.
“I just thought it was a statement to have something close to the state Capitol,” said Dhar Mann, who founded the original iGrow in January 2010. “It’s a statement of how progressive the industry has become. We’re all about coming out of the shadows.”
With California, 14 other states, including Washington, and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana for medical use, the hydroponics industry is exploding. But, unlike weGrow, most hydroponics outlets avoid any mention of marijuana, billing themselves only as generic suppliers for people growing anything from peppers to rosemary.
Hydroponics stores traditionally are leery of any mention of marijuana because pot cultivation remains illegal under federal law.
Michael Garcia, operator of the Sacramento weGrow franchise, said employees will talk about marijuana once customers show proof of a physician’s recommendation for medical use.
For those who have the recommendation, weGrow will offer on-site classes in marijuana cultivation. It also promotes its online “University of Cannabis.”
Material from The Associated Press is included in this report.