Ohio’s Scotts Miracle-Gro tests whether it can make pot grow, too

Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. is betting its fertilizer can help cultivate a different kind of grass.

Hawthorne Gardening Co., a subsidiary of the Marysville, Ohio-based company best known for its garden products, has teamed up with Canadian pot producer Flowr Corp. to build a 50,000-square-foot research facility in British Columbia. The lab will initially be used to test Hawthorne’s lights and nutrients on cannabis, but it hopes to eventually study pot genetics and its impact on human physiology.

“Pretty quickly we realized that cannabis and hydroponics were a big opportunity,” said Chris Hagedorn, general manager of Hawthorne and the son of Scotts Chief Executive Officer Jim Hagedorn. “It has become more acceptable to our investor base, to our board, to our management team and the motivation is obvious: it’s a high-growth category.”

Scotts joins a growing list of large companies testing the marijuana waters. Constellation Brands Inc. announced the biggest investment in the sector to date last week, paying $3.8 billion for a 38% stake in Canada’s Canopy Growth Corp. Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Heineken NV have also made initial forays.

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