How Did ScottsMiracle-Gro Become a Cannabis Power Player?

How Did ScottsMiracle-Gro Become a Cannabis Power Player?
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Cannabis legalization continues to make headway in the US and beyond, creating economic opportunities for companies in a host of industries. Much of the investment in the cannabis economy has been put into new companies that do the bulk of marijuana cultivation, processing and sales—some of which have grown into large operations spanning numerous states. But increasingly, more mature companies are taking the dive into cannabis, often through ancillary businesses that serve the needs of plant-touching operations. An early adopter of this business strategy is ScottsMiracle-Gro, a 154-year-old firm that is a staple of American garden centers. Targeting the Pot Market PHOTO Courtesy of ScottsMiracle-Gro ScottsMiracle-Gro is probably best known for the fertilizer and weed killer combo found in the lawn spreaders of millions of suburban dads and the plant food in the watering cans owned by a similar number of grandmothers across the country. But over the past decade, the company has been taking a deep dive into cannabis, with its subsidiary Hawthorne Gardening Company picking up leaders in marijuana grow lights, nutrients, hydroponic supplies and more. And recently, Scotts has been lobbying for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. This is a prospect that Chris Hagedorn, executive vice president of ScottsMiracle-Gro and president of the Hawthorne division, says is inevitable. “It’s our belief, and this isn’t a grand revelation by any stretch: Federal legalization is obviously going to happen; the question is when and how,” Hagedorn told CNN in a recent interview. “When it does, what are the most valuable assets going to be in a post-legalization world? I think anybody who thinks about it for a while says consumer-facing brands [that make and sell cannabis products] will be the most valuable.” Back in 2011, ScottsMiracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn, Chris Hagedorn’s father, told the Wall Street Journal that he…

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