Early this week, Jim Hagedorn, CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro, showed visitors around the company's cannabis center in Marysville, a series of grow rooms featuring a meticulous variety of plants, lights, humidity, and soil conditions offering a controlled experiment to determine ideal conditions for the crop.
The center, which Scotts opened less than a year ago, also represents a larger national economic experiment: Can the U.S. cannabis industry become profitable? Despite cannabis sales growing nationally, the industry has largely struggled to make a dime.
"So many people have been destroyed in this business," said Hagedorn, who has watched Scott's stock plunge nearly 80% since early 2021, in part because of the struggles of its Hawthorne marijuana division.
Companies in the industry, such as Scotts, are hoping for help from Ohioans when they vote on Issue 2, which would legalize recreational cannabis for adults. Early voting is underway across the state for the Nov. 7 election.
Cannabis industry struggles despite state legalization
Such state moves have not, however, helped in the past. Since the start of 2021, 12 states have approved recreational cannabis use. During the same period, the New Cannabis Ventures American fund, which tracks publicly-traded cannabis companies, plunged from more than $100 a share to about $15 a share.
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