Massive pot warehouse opens in Oakland

January 28, 2010 5:55:28 PM PST
A unique store opened on Thursday afternoon in Oakland. It caters to medical marijuana users who want to grow their own, but there is a catch -- the store has everything but marijuana.

Surprisingly, there was not much controversy when the doors opened at iGrow. There was a line of people about a block long, just waiting to get in.

If you are a cannisseur, or in the canni-business, and happen to be in the market for some Bud Factor. Bud Ignitor, Bud Candy, or maybe even a bottle of Grow Big. Then iGrow is the place for you.

"This is going to be like the Home Depot meets Ikea of grow stores," says Trent Clingan, a medical marijuana patient.

It is more like the 15,000-square-foot Costco of grow stores; it has everything you could possibly need for medical marijuana cultivation under one roof, even things you did not know you needed, like bat fertilizer.

Members of the "Grow Squad" are there to help and the only membership card required is a pot card.

"If you mention the magic 'M' word then we do have to validate you as a medical patient," says iGrow owner Dhar Mann.

Do not have a cannabis card? No worries. Dr. Monte Fisher, MD, has an office on site.

"Well you have to have an illness; you have to have a medical reason for using cannabis," says Dr. Fisher.

It is a one-stop shop, with one exception. The only grass here is what's being mowed ahead of the big grand opening.

Mann says that could come later, if Oakland ever lifts its moratorium on pot clubs. In this economy it might seem like a tough time to open a small business, but not in this industry.

"Customers on average can spend up to $15,000 in one purchase and hopefully we'll have many customers," says Mann.

He's already talking about iGrow franchises. Maybe next they will have a frequent shopper card.

"Yeah, that'd be nice. I could use that," says Clingan.

Maybe one reason why the opening failed to spark any controversy is because businesses like iGrow are actually big money for the City of Oakland. Last summer, voters passed a measure to pass and regulate businesses like this one.

Coincidently, the push to legalize pot state-wide just moved to the next level.

Marijuana advocates turned in nearly double the number of signatures needed to put that issue before voters in November.

It would legalize personal possession up to an ounce. The secretary of state must now validate those signatures.