Emerging category: 
From potted plants to pot

Sixteen states now allow the controlled sale of medical marijuana, and retailers and suppliers are taking a look at the sales potential of items related to this expansion of DIY gardening.

One estimate puts the size of this emerging lawn and garden category at $1.7 billion in annual sales. It could be much higher.

In Phoenix last month, an openly pro-pot franchise called weGrow opened a 21,000-sq.-ft. store that was described in the local media as “the Walmart of weed.” It was the third franchise of its kind in the United States. (The original two locations are in Oakland and Sacramento, Calif.) And a fourth and fifth franchise are in the works for Washington, D.C., and Tucson, Ariz. The store doesn’t sell marijuana, just products to cultivate it — grow lights, hemp twine and all kinds of nutrients.

Major players are intrigued as well by what could be described literally as a growth industry. Marysville, Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn told the Wall Street Journal that the slowdown in big-box-store openings is pushing his company to find new niches. “I want to target the pot market,” he said. “There’s no good reason we haven’t.”