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Originally published July 27 2011

Miracle-Gro to sell special nutrient formulations for growing marijuana

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) Once known primarily for its weed-killing formulas, now Miracle-Gro wants to try its hand at growing killer weed.

Jim Hagedorn, chief executive of Scott's, the company that manufactures Miracle-Gro, said he's going to target the medical marijuana industry as a way of boosting overall sales of his company's products.

"I want to target the pot market. There's no good reason we haven't," he told The Wall Street Journal last month.

Besides the fact that marijuana consumption is increasingly acceptable among the American public, Hagedorn's decision also makes dollars and sense.

Scotts' sales grew to $2.9 billion last year, up 5 percent from the previous year. But the company's three primary retailers - Lowe's, Walmart and Home Depot, Inc., which together are responsible for two-thirds of Scott's sales - aren't building as many new stores.

Combined with the fact that consumers aren't spending as much money, given the enduring stubbornness of the current economic recession, Scott's is looking at every opportunity to increase sales and revenue.

With that in mind, Hagedorn has been pushing his regional sales teams to look for smaller niche markets that, combined, will produce a noticeable bump in overall sales. And the medical marijuana niche looked ripe for the picking.

The Journal report said that See Change Strategy LLC, an information data services company, predicts the medical marijuana industry will reach $1.7 billion in sales in 2011. And now that 16 states have passed legislation permitting the use of medical marijuana - with as many as 14 more considering it - that market is likely only to grow, despite the fact that smoking marijuana is still against federal law.

With an eye on the medical marijuana market, Scott's plans a couple of other moves as well. First, the company wants to expand its operations into the local, smaller home-town lawn-and-garden stores. Hagedorn - a former F-16 fighter pilot who still flies his own Cessna to meetings also says that Scott's will target niche dirt companies, rather than make its own line of branded products.

To be sure, it appears his medical marijuana strategy is already taking root; raids on some pot growers have turned up Scott's products.

Regarding marijuana legalization, the trend appears to be moving that way. Increasingly, more Americans are not only accepting of marijuana, they see legalizing it as a way to reduce drug-related violence and as a new source of tax revenue for state and federal governments.

"I ask kids all the time, and they'll tell you it is easier to get marijuana than a six-pack of beer because that is controlled by the government," said James Gray.

Gray is a one-time federal prosecutor and judge who sent people to jail for dealing pot, told USA Today. So now it's time to "face reality," he added.

"Taxing and regulating marijuana will make it less available to children than it is today," he said.

And when that day comes, Scott's wants to be there, ready to help growers get the most out of their plants.

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