The lawn care company Scotts Miracle-Gro is making a huge investment in the marijuana business.
Jim Hagedorn, the company’s CEO, told Fortune in a recent interview that his company plans to invest “like, half a billion” in the industry.
“It is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in lawn and garden,” he said.
Hagedorn has already invested more than $250 million and plans to spend an additional $150 million by the end of the year ― an amount bigger than any other single transaction in the history of Scotts Miracle-Gro, Fortune reported. The money has been invested in two California companies that sell fertilizers and soils to marijuana growers and a hydroponics company in Amsterdam, according to Fortune.
Hagedorn made the decision to invest after the owner of a garden center in Washington state told him how much demand there was for hydroponics equipment in his store. After the chance meeting, Hagedorn decided his company was investing in marijuana and gave his board an ultimatum.
“I came back, and I told everyone ‘We’re doing it,’” he told Fortune. “If you don’t like it, leave. We’re doing it. It’s beyond stopping. And we’re not getting into pot growing. We’re talking dirt, fertilizer, pesticides, growing systems, lights. You know it’s a multibillion-dollar business, and we’ve got no growth in our core. Are you guys stupid?”
Even though 25 states have legalized marijuana for medical use ― and four, as well as the District of Columbia, allow recreational use ― the federal government still classifies the drug as a dangerous Schedule I substance, and possessing revenue derived from marijuana remains a federal crime.
In Colorado, legal marijuana sales totaled nearly $1 billion last year, The Cannibist reported. The sale of recreational marijuana in the state began in 2014.
Fortune reported that Scotts Miracle-Gro is working with different states to figure out which pesticides can be used on marijuana and is considering setting up laboratories in Israel, Canada and Jamaica to conduct marijuana research.