Sent to us by Rod.
The hydroponics industry and marijuana growers are reacting with worry and outrage at the news that Scotts Miracle-Gro (a convicted corporate felon that sells low-end fertilizers, Monsanto’s Round-Up, and other poisons), has purchased hydroponics nutrients manufacturer General Hydroponics and its affiliate “Bio-Organic Solutions” that markets products under the Vermicrop label.
The purchase was just completed by a Scotts Miracle-Gro front company called Hawthorne Gardening Company, a wholly-owned Scotts subsidiary formed in 2014.
Hawthorne is managed by Chris Hagedorn, the oldest son of Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn.
What’s really strange, however, is that in press releases and public statements made by General Hydroponics and Hawthorne spokespersons, the Scotts Miracle-Gro connection has been totally omitted… most likely because Scotts is universally scorned by the marijuana growing and organic gardening communities.
General Hydroponics, founded nearly four decades ago in California, is tied with Advanced Nutrients as the top-selling hydroponics nutrients manufacturer.
Marijuana growers and industry insiders reacted with derision to media reports describing General Hydroponics founder Larry Brooke as a “medical marijuana proponent.”
In actual fact, Brooke has long been an influential member of a powerful anti-marijuana cadre in the hydroponics gardening industry.
The cadre, led by Brooke and Maximum Yield hydroponics magazine, has a total ban on even mentioning marijuana at Maximum Yield hydroponics gardening events.
The anti-marijuana faction of the hydroponics industry uses ruthless censorship and other hardships against businesspeople who openly make products for marijuana growers or advocate marijuana legalization.
The blatant hypocrisy, self-censorship, and double-talk that Brooke and many others in the hydroponics industry engage in regarding marijuana was on full display in an article about the Scotts-General Hydroponics deal published in California’s The Press Democrat newspaper.
Here’s an excerpt of the article:
“Word of the sale has been circulating for several weeks, said Chad Russell, owner of Santa Rosa’s Hydroponics Warehouse. General Hydroponics products are strong sellers because they are effective and local, he said.
Russell said he doesn’t ask what kinds of crops people are growing with General Hydroponics products with names like BioThrive, BioBud and BioWeed, but he doesn’t doubt many of his customers are growing marijuana.
“Everyone knows what’s going on and are silent about it,” Russell said.
The company’s rapid growth in recent years has mirrored the boom in the medical marijuana industry. But Brooke stressed that he has taken pains not to cater to any particular crop.
“For the many years I’ve run GH I’ve been very careful that I didn’t cross any lines about allowing the identity of my company to be associated with medical cannabis,” he said.” [emphasis added]
Hydroponics retailers, and distributors of General Hydroponics fertilizers such as Sunlight Supply, are reportedly worried that Scotts and Hawthorne will bypass hydroponics retailers and sell General Hydroponics products in “big box stores” such as Lowes, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot.
Hydroponics marijuana growers are concerned that Scotts Miracle-Gro and Hawthorne will dilute or otherwise ruin General Hydroponics products.
Industry insiders say Scotts has been trying to penetrate the marijuana fertilizer industry for at least 7 years, most notably by having paid shills on marijuana gardening forums and in YouTube videos who falsely claim you can use Miracle-Gro fertilizers and Scotts soils to grow good marijuana.
But the problem is that el cheapo Scotts fertilizers and soils are too harsh and inferior for growing connoisseur marijuana.
Growers thought they were saving money using the low-end Scotts fertilizers and soils, only to discover that Miracle-Gro products ruined their cannabis crops.
“Scotts Miracle-Gro decided the best thing was to purchase an existing hydroponics fertilizer brand that had good market share, rather than trying to create ‘Scotts Miracle-Marijuana Gro.’ They created their front company called Hawthorne, and went after General Hydroponics. What blows me away is General Hydroponics would get in bed with Scotts. Scotts Miracle-Gro is a nasty corporation, a front forMonsanto, and it goes against everything the hydroponics marijuana community believes in,” a hydroponics industry analyst noted.
The analyst says if Scotts Miracle-Gro and Hawthorne Gardening Company start selling General Hydroponics outside of regular hydroponics retail channels, it will create significant financial losses for hydroponics distributors and retailers.
A General Hydroponics manager, speaking anonymously, insisted that Scotts and Hawthorne Gardening won’t change General Hydroponics as a company, its product line, or how GH products are distributed or sold.
“The benefit to General Hydroponics is we’re owned by a subsidiary of a company that has $3 billion in worldwide sales,” the spokesperson said.
Michael Straumietis, founder and owner of hydroponics nutrients company Advanced Nutrients, says the Scotts takeover of General Hydroponics justifies his many years of vehement criticism of General Hydroponics and the anti-marijuana segment of the hydroponics gardening industry.
Straumietis has long been the only hydroponics nutrients inventor and entrepreneur who has expertise in growing marijuana, and whose company employes scientists to study marijuana’s unique nutritional needs and make products that boost marijuana growth rate, yield, potency, and purity.
For more than a decade, Straumietis has waged a public war of words with General Hydroponics and its allies in the hydroponics industry, reminding them that marijuana growers are the mainstay of the industry who are “ill-served” by industry censorship and by being sold products that don’t fuel optimized performance in marijuana plants.
“As Larry Brooke admits now that he’s sold his company to Scotts, he never made products for marijuana growers and he never wanted his company to even be ‘associated with medical cannabis.’ This has always been a big insult to our marijuana growing community: Brooke and his allies are happy to take growers’ money, but ashamed to stand up for growers or even be associated with them.”
If Hawthorne, Scotts, and Brooke believe that the marijuana grower community will welcome the takeover news, they may be in for a rude surprise.
Many marijuana growers know Scotts is a major player in the genetic modification (GM) industry, via close partnerships and other business relationships with Monsanto and Sanford Scientific.
Scotts manufactures genetically modified grasses and ornamental plants, and is the sole licensed distributor for some Monsanto herbicides and pesticides in North America, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Austria.
The Scotts genetic modification program is controversial– Scotts used regulatory loopholes to put potentially-risky GM products into the marketplace with little if any safety oversight.
In 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Scotts was being fined $4 million for multiple, severe violations of federal insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide laws.
Scotts pled guilty to illegally applying insecticides to bird food, falsifying documents, misleading consumers about pesticide use and safety, and distributing unregistered pesticides.
The EPA also announced that Scotts Miracle-Grow had to pay another $8 million in fines, penalties, and mitigation related to other violations.
“The misuse or mislabeling of pesticide products can cause serious illness in humans and be toxic to wildlife,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s sentence and unprecedented civil settlement hold Scotts accountable for widespread company noncompliance with pesticide laws, which put products into the hands of consumers without the proper authorization or warning labels.”
The dark corruption at the heart of companies like Scotts and Monsanto was on full display as Scotts admitted in its EPA plea agreement that it had knowingly applied toxic chemicals to bird food, contrary to EPA directives, even after lower-level Scotts employees told top management of the violations.
Scotts also admitted that it submitted false documents to EPA and state regulators in a deliberate attempt to deceive the regulators, and similarly falsified product labels to mislead the public.
Marijuana growers say that Larry Brooke and General Hydroponics are wrong to be involved with Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Typical of the reaction from many marijuana growers is this from a legal marijuana grower based in Colorado:
“I’ve only stayed with General Hydroponics because I’m familiar with using their three-part base. It’s not like I think they’re the best nutrients,” explained John, a Denver, Colorado marijuana grower. “But I’m going to stop using General Hydroponics. No way do I want my money going to Scotts Miracle-Gro.”