In the gold rush, the real winners were the people selling picks and shovels, because everyone needed them. Finding gold was hard work, and a gamble for fortune. Today, the savviest businesses in the legal marijuana industry are the ones selling grow equipment and supplies. No personal risk, high reward. In Argentina, that business is booming.
The legal situation in Argentina
A bill introduced in Argentina’s legislature in 2012 for legalization has yet to be put on the agenda. Right now, courts tolerate personal possession to a degree and even allow medicines containing THC in certain circumstances. If you are caught with the plants by the police, however, you will still face repercussions. Many are hopeful that situation will soon change, as eastern neighbor Uruguay has allowed research, as well as medical and recreational use. Chile to the west has allowed research and medical use so far as well.
Hopeful business owners
Over 20 shops dedicated to marijuana cultivation, or at least “home gardening”, have sprung up in Buenos Aires. They make a profit while staying out of legal breakwaters by selling everything you need to grow marijuana except the plants themselves. If true legalization were to take place, they would go from making a living to making a fortune.
When Colorado legalized cannabis for recreational use, they created a billion dollar industry for a state of just 5.5 million people. The ripple effect on other businesses that make money from servicing the needs of the industry has spread the wealth even further. For Argentina, which has little in the way of manufacturing industries, that kind of boom could be game changing on a national level.
An eye on the future
Ignacio Goyret, owner of the grow shop Basta de Lobby, is one of these hopeful men. His shop has been in business since 2009, and employs 5 people, but the business it generates has a positive impact on the local economy.
“I always explain that I cover 99 percent of the business, I don’t touch the seeds, and that’s the remaining 1 percent.”
“We require fertilizer and we use a logistics network because we have to transport many goods, I have to get soil, pots and other products, and that creates further economic growth.”
For now, Goyret and other businessmen like him build their businesses while riding the line, and prepare for what they see as an inevitable change in the laws. When that happens, the grow centers that have garnered customer loyalty and established a name for themselves in the community will be poised to grow as fast as the plants they admire.
Do you grow your own cannabis? Is it hard to find a store that will tailor to your needs? Where do you get most of your supplies? Share your experiences with us on social media or in the comments below.