Weed Wars

Dispatches from the California Marijuana Front

March 3, 2011
Partners of 'Wal-Mart of weed' file claims for unpaid services

20110226_AOC_weGrow_052w.JPGIn Sacramento, the first national franchise for weGrow, a cavernous hydroponics store marketing itself as a retail outlet for people growing marijuana for personal medicinal use, opened to fragrant fanfare Feb. 26.

But back in Oakland, where the parent store opened as iGrow in January 2010, some angry former partners are charging that they weren't paid for services there.

In e-mails to The Sacramento Bee, Amy Peterson, says her firm, Your Girl Friday Interiors, had to take weGrow in Oakland to small claims court because it didn't pay her for "branding concepts" and "marketing ideas" for the firms' plans to open weGrow franchise stores.

Edward Piatt e-mailed that he is owed payment for architectural services for the Oakland store, which is now a non-retail products distribution center. "I was never paid for my services and my hard work," Piatt said.

Dhar Mann, who founded iGrow and has been championing the launch of weGrow franchises in Sacramento and several cities to come, said in an interview that the claims are the result of a failed business partnership with a former associate, Derek Peterson, whom Mann said is married to Amy Peterson. He denied that he owes his former associates anything, declaring: "This is all going to be litigated over the next few weeks...We're going to defend these cases."

The East Bay Express reported that small claims actions were filed in Alameda County Feb. 22 on behalf of contractors and partners who charged they weren't paid for products or services.

The Sacramento weGrow store operates as an independent franchise. Mann has said other weGrow franchises are due to open this spring in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey and Oregon.

Pictured: The budding nutrients product line at the weGrow store in Sacramento. Autumn Cruz/acruz@sacbee.com

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