One company known as the “Walmart of weed” is setting up shop in Washington D.C. a few miles from the White House and federal buildings.
The weGrow store will be opening on Friday in Washington, coinciding with the first concrete step in implementing city law to allow D.C. residents to purchase marijuana for medical reasons.
WeGrow said it provides the necessary tools to pioneers of a “green rush,” a movement it considers similar to the gold rush where nearly $9 billion could be made in the medical marijuana business in the next five years.
There have been 16 states that have decided to legalized marijuana for medical use to treat a variety of health problems, from anxiety and back pain to HIV/AIDS and cancer-ailments.
About 7 percent of Americans, or 17.4 million people, said they used marijuana in 2010, which is up from 5.8 percent in 2007, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
A Gallup poll last year found that 50 percent of Americans say that marijuana should be made legal, and 70 percent support medical uses for pot.
WeGrow does not sell pot or seeds to grow it, but it instead provides products and services to help cultivators grow their own plants for personal use or for sale at dispensaries.
The first weGrow store was first opened in Sacramento last year by founder Dhar Mann. He said he started the store after he was kicked out of a mom and pop hydroponics store in California just for mentioning marijuana.
Since its opening, the store has opened a location in Phoenix, San Jose and Flagstaff. It has also expanded in New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
WeGrow said it has plans to expand its business into Oregon, Washington State and Michigan as well.
On Friday, D.C. officials will announce those who are eligible to apply for permits to grow and sell medical marijuana to dispensaries under the district’s 2010 law. Applicants must sign a statement saying they understand a license does not authorize them to break federal law.
“They do so at their own peril because I can’t imagine that the federal government is going to allow marijuana selling for any purpose right in their backyard,” Kevin Sabet, a former senior adviser to the president’s drug czar and an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida, told the Houston Chronicle.
“Whether it’s D.C. or all the way out in California, the government’s been pretty clear that medical marijuana doesn’t pass the giggle test.”
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