A California-based retailer dubbed the “Walmart of Weed” that calls itself the “one-stop-shop” for marijuana growers will on Friday be opening its first East Coast outlet located just a few miles away from the White House and government offices in Washington D.C.
WeGrow currently has three stores in California and Arizona, and sells hydroponic equipment used to cultivate marijuana. According to the company’s website, its new shop will be in northeast D.C. at 1522 Rhode Island Avenue NE.
The new store will not sell marijuana or the seeds to grow it, but instead it will sell all the materials needed to help cultivators grow their own plants for personal use of for sale at dispensaries.
Although federal law prohibits the cultivation, sale or use of marijuana, selling hydroponic and other indoor growing equipment is legal, but because hydroponic products are typically associated with cultivating plants deemed illegal under federal law, the industry has tried to keep a low profile.
"For the longest time, it's been a don't ask, don't tell industry," weGrow founder Dhar Mann told Associated Press. "Most people still want to hide behind that façade." said weGrow founder Dhar Mann.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use for treating a wide range of conditions from anxiety and muscle pain to HIV/AIDS and cancer-related ailments, and 14 states have some type of marijuana decriminalization law which removes or lowers penalties for possession.
According to the latest statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 7 percent of Americans, or 17.4 million people in the U.S. reported that they’ve used marijuana, and a Gallup poll last year found that 50 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legalized and 70 percent support its medicinal uses.
Many marijuana advocates say that legalization would have government revenue benefits and cost and efficiency savings for not prosecuting or jailing for possession.
"The more that businesses start to push the envelope by showing that this is a legitimate industry, the further we're going to be able to go in changing people's minds," Mann told Associated Press.