The Newest ‘Grow’ Industry: Medical Marijuana Superstores

Good business is where you find it. And if you find it in unconventional or even risky places? Well, let’s just say that there are both risks and rewards to doing business on the bleeding edge.

Case in point: weGrow, which according to Fast Company “claims to be the only hydroponics store that openly caters to the medical Mary Jane consumer.” (That’s marijuana to those of you who aren’t hip to Reefer Madness-era drug lingo.)

The folks at weGrow opened their first stoner superstore in Oakland, Calif. — ground zero for the burgeoning medical marijuana movement. Business is booming, and now the company plans to open franchises elsewhere, starting with a new store in Sacramento.

This isn’t just a hippy-dippy California fad, either: More franchise stores are in the works for Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Oregon, according to the Sacramento Bee. And if you think weGrow is alone in this business, a quick Google search will show otherwise.

Medical marijuana is still an incredibly controversial topic. Even so, 14 states and the District of Columbia have either legalized weed for medicinal use or plan to do so. The federal government remains firmly on the prohibition bandwagon, but it’s impractical — and increasingly risky from a political standpoint — for the feds to step in and stamp out this tea party.

That leaves entrepreneurs with a decision to make. Do they buy into what is already a multi-billion dollar industry, and assume the business and legal risks that come with the territory? Or do they take a pass and stick to safer, more conventional business opportunities?

Time will tell. But let’s remember that the businesses skirting the same legal boundaries at the end of the Prohibition Era in the 1930s were in a great position to profit from the legalization of alcohol.

And if you’re the conservative type, may I suggest that opening a bakery or two downwind from your friendly neighborhood weGrow store might not be such a bad idea, either.