Marijuana Business Magazine - January 2017

Virgil Grant Southern California Coalition, President; California Minority Alliance, Secretary; California Cannabis, CEO Age: 50 BACKSTORY: Grant has been a fixture in the Southern California MJ industry for two decades, first as a dispensary owner in Los Angeles and now as a political powerhouse with the Southern California Coalition and the California Minority Alliance. He’s a key industry advocate in talks with the L.A. City Council about regulations for cannabis businesses.The city is likely to become a cannabis industry juggernaut in 2018 – and one of the few munici- palities to include social equity language in its regulations, aimed at giving minorities a leg up in the local MJ industry. WHY TO WATCH: Grant is likely to be an important player in how L.A.'s regulations are rolled out, particularly when it comes to the social equity language.The city council’s proposed regulations would give special preference to business license applicants deemed to have been disadvantaged by the federal government’s war on drugs.The details are still being ironed out. Among Grant’s plans: “pushing responsible and inclusive policies ... to ensure more minori- ties and disenfranchised communities are able to participate” in the cannabis industry, he wrote in an email. BIGGEST GOAL IN 2018: Grant wants to make his newest venture, California Cannabis, the “No. 1 brand in the country.”But that seems secondary to his target of empowering minorities to take part in the marijuana industry. Part of that, Grant said, is ensuring that disenfranchised communities have “viable sources of capital” to help minorities get started in the MJ industry. Jim Hagedorn Scotts Miracle-Gro, CEO Age: 62 (approximate) BACKSTORY: Hagedorn unveiled audacious plans in 2016 to invest $500 million in the cannabis industry and transform his iconic lawn and garden company into an MJ powerhouse. He’s been on a spending spree since, buying ancillary cannabis companies such as Gavita, which produces grow lights, and Botanicare, a marijuana-centric nutrient business. In Septem- ber, he finalized a $250 million deal to unload Scotts’ gardening business interests in seven countries. It means most of Scotts’ revenue will come from North America, which is the global powerhouse of the cannabis industry. WHY TO WATCH: Will 2018 prove to be the year Hagedorn begins to turn Scotts into a marijuana behemoth? Hagedorn’s decision to unload the company’s overseas interests leaves Scotts positioned to gobble up marijuana busi- nesses in North America – should he choose to do so. Hagedorn’s focus has been hydropon- ics – through Scotts’ Hawthorne Gardening Co. subsidiary – in addition to interests in nutrients, lighting, hardware and fertilizer. One analyst speculated Hagedorn could make Scotts a controlling investor with companies throughout various MJ sectors. Both the United States and Canada are fertile grounds for acquisitions. BIGGEST GOAL IN 2018: Hagedorn – who wasn’t available for comment – appears focused on building upon his North American cannabis assets after selling off the company’s international hold- ings. In terms of Scotts’ overall performance, the company projects sales growth of 4%-6% in fiscal 2018, with its Hawthorne subsidiary providing “nice tailwinds,” according to a news release.