JD Malone The Columbus Dispatch @J_D_Malone
Scotts Miracle-Gro has a budding hydroponics business and what it hopes is a friend in the new president.
But what it doesn’t know is how the Trump administration feels about legalization of marijuana use — a factor that’s driving sales of some of Scotts’ products.
“I was a supporter of Donald Trump. I voted for him,” said Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn, during an earnings call with analysts Tuesday morning. He said he did so because he expected Trump would be good for Scotts’ business plans, including its interest in the marijuana industry.
The Marysville-based company makes most of its money selling weed killers, mouse traps, lawn fertilizers, soil and mulch, but its future growth is pinned on a once-nefarious concept — helping people grow marijuana.
Analysts wanted to know where Hagedorn saw the marijuana-farming industry expanding. Christopher Carey, an analyst with Bank of America, asked whether the players driving demand were small, individual growers, local shops and/or medium- to large-scale operations.
“I would say all of the above,” Hagedorn said. “We see growth in all of those areas.”
In the past two years, Scotts has spent more than $200 million acquiring a soup-to-nuts hydroponics portfolio of indoor lighting products, growing containers, nutrients, additives and the like.
Scotts is betting so much on marijuana that the next meeting of its board of directors will be held in Colorado, which legalized pot for sale to the public in 2014.
One of the unknowns, though, is how the new president will approach the legalization movement going forward.
Will he be hands-off or edge closer to the “law-and-order” language he has used to tout his toughness on crime?
No one seems to be sure.
Marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Trump’s pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, has a history of