Kai Ryssdal: This being a mostly free-market economy, a company's gotta do what it's gotta do to satisfy shareholders and maintain the bottom line. So Miracle-Gro -- the plant fertilizer people -- have decided they want to do more than just help everyday gardeners grow happier marigolds and bigger tomatoes. The company's eying another market -- a booming one.
From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Adriene Hill reports.
Adriene Hill: Let's be "blunt." Scotts Miracle-Gro seems to have "high" expectations for the medical marijuana market. The CEO of the fertilizer company told the Wall Street Journal: "I want to target the pot market."
Now the company's tone has mellowed a bit. A press officer sent a statement saying the medical marijuana market is one of many niche markets the company might explore. But why would a company associated with prize-winning tomatoes even consider hanging around with the stoner crowd?
Money, my friends. Big money.
Kris Lotlikar: We're estimating that the 2011 market for medical marijuana will be $1.7 billion.
Kris Lotlikar heads See Change Strategy, a data analysis firm. He estimates the legal marijuana market will double in the next five years and expects all sort of "legitimate" companies will start getting comfortable with marijuana.
Mark Kleiman is a public policy professor at UCLA and author of a new book, Drugs and Drug Policy.
Mark Kleiman: The fact that this company is now prepared come out and say, we want to market to this group, suggests that it's not as scary to them as it used to be.
Kleiman says it's one sign that public opinion has moved faster than federal policy, and it has the potential to continue changing opinion.
Kleiman: If you see respectable companies doing something, well that sort of changes your view about what it's about.
The real question: how to avoid confusion among customers when you're selling chemicals meant to kill weeds and chemicals meant to grow weed.
I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.