METRO DETROIT – Four years ago I never seen so much enthusiasm for medical marijuana, hydroponic stores and 420 clinics. There was such a media uproar for this sort of business it had a lot of people thinking that this could be the next Colorado. The other thing was even more bizarre in the news. I remember reading something about Geoffrey Figer was talking about Detroit being the new Amsterdam. All of this hoopla was kind of interesting. As a search engine guy you can imagine our phones ringing to help these hydroponic guys.
We were riding on the wave of the green scene but it was going to be a short ride. As a non-user I found the experience to be bordering on ridiculous and at times very insane. Our office met with some of the cities wackiest characters. Some of the medical marijuana people were questionable and they referred to themselves as doctors. We helped them optimize their websites and made some web videos on YouTube.com. As web people we never really got into checking their credentials and gather detailed information on their medical requirements.
Hydroponic companies were also enthusiastic and were growing at a rapid rate. Walled Lake, Michigan which is a very small town boasted at least six businesses that I know of. This included 420 clinics in retail spaces as well as hydroponic stores that sold a wide range of growing media. What I found was that these guys came from all walks of life and not all of them from good places. Some of the guys I ran into were downright unsavory and poor business people. Some of the guys that we had to work for were tuned up all the time on “medication” and would have a 5 minute memory. This made getting our job done very difficult.
By the summer of 2014 a lot of these shops folded including the popular Hydro Harrys. The 420 clinics went first and rightly so. We noticed that many of these guys didn’t even have their own clinic and that they piggy backed off another existing doctors office. This may have been due to legal reasons or because of a lack of funds. They were very difficult to work for because they just didn’t have any money to do all the fancy search engine optimization and viral media. As far as legitimately holding their title as a doctor that is up for debate. I am aware that the official story is that Michigan racked up 10 Million dollars of tax revenue – at least that’s what they say. But the guys we met and worked with were always broke. Worse, some of these guys got evicted out of their buildings.
This overly optimistic time period was known as the, “Green Gold” period on the street. But reality dealt a pretty serious hand. The shops were pretty vacant on most days and foot traffic was almost nill. My theory fell into two areas. One, there wasn’t that many people growing medical marijuana. The other thing was these shops did very little to promote themselves when I wasn’t around. One store in particular on Woodward Avenue, (it’s closed for good now) had a room full of stock guys who sat around watching the Mets play on TV.
Some of those stores opened an online ordering system where people could buy supplies off the web. When it came to shipping the products it was another hurdle. The big nutrient drums were too expensive to ship. I mean, this stuff was incredibly heavy and the owners of the hydro stores would complain all the time about it. It was a goofy business and I got caught up in this because I believed the media hype that this was going to change the Michigan economic landscape.
I was off on that one… and so was everybody else. People went to jail in this short time frame. But those weren’t the ones that got the most media attention. Some of the growers got into this mindset where they could be the next Al Capone and sell dope for a living under the table. They ended up on the news of course. But there was the guys that had the CO2 gas or whatever it was rigged up in their houses. Long story short their houses exploded. At least that’s what I saw happen on the news. Some guy in Belleville accidently blew up his house. But that’s not why I left the whole bizarre fiasco.
The real reason why I didn’t stick around was because I didn’t have to patience to deal with these stoned business owners. The money was terrible. And I actually switched over to lucrative home improvement companies because I was tired of the riff raff – and the non-existent pay. You see, towards the end of the wave the only guys who were optimistic about this whole scene was the media. The perception was that this new style of business was going to save Michigan, (despite a major exodus). NBC was right in there with the rest of the media citing California and Colorado as financial role models.
But I was on the inside track and I could tell you these guys barely had enough money for gas every day. They were living on thin margins. Now, to be fair, maybe I am a jerk and am not – “Pro Michigan” enough. Maybe I lack sympathy. But it was not a business I could get excited about. It certainly wasn’t scalable. I know there will be many medical marijuana defenders out there touting the great riches of money being made in this industry. Myself, personally, I am relieved that I am out of that whole stupid dopey rock and roll circus.
As the major players are thinning out I am somewhat reflective. Right now there is another boom happening with the whole e-cig market which is valued at 1 Billion. I am not excited about that very much because I see these shops being run in very much the same way as the medical marijuana people. There are a lot of shop owners and employees staggering around stoned chomping on a metal stogie. These guys are oblivious to anyone walking into their shops. I got to wonder if these guys have any real staying power. As far as money goes there is more money in funerals than there is in these hype industries. The funeral market rolls in at 11 Billion annually.
We will be going more into detail about our misadventures in this market in an upcoming article.
Fun stuff. But not for me.
Hot Metro Finds 2014
CATCH UP WITH HOT METRO FINDS & Ted Cantu
1 .DUMB AND DUMBER TO: Is It Worth The 20 Year Wait? – Hot Metro Finds Review
2. Who Else Wants To Create A Super Product Launch With Me? – HOT METRO FINDS, TROY – MICHIGAN
3. HOT METRO FINDS: The Moons – Double Vision Love – Thank God For The Web
4. ADAM LAMBERTS ARMY: The Glamberts Will Rock You And Turn Mainstream Media On Its Ear
5. HOT METRO FINDS: Johnny Marr – Easy Money – First Look Off New Album – Ted Cantu
6. Ted Cantu – Detroit, MI – Marketing Hotline -1.888.305.2532 – Ask A Question
7. HOT METRO FINDS Riot Fest 2014 Review – TED CANTU
8. HOT METRO FINDS: Queen + Adam Lambert Fans Trump Traditional Media Coverage W/ Social Media
9. Hot Metro Finds: Detroit Is The Birthplace Of Punk Rock – Ted Cantu
10. Ted Cantu: How To Brand Your Business – With Social Media – HOT METRO FINDS
11. Ted Cantu & Hot Metro Reviews Slaughter and the Dogs Live At Reggie’s Rock Club For Rocktoberfest
12. Hot Metro Finds Creator Ted Cantu Featured On TV Show, “Self Talk” – in Metro Detroit, MI
13. HOT METRO FINDS: Digital Artist John Hammink Is On A Mission To Prevent Art Director Burnout
14. HOT METRO FINDS: 30th Anniversary of Van Halen “1984” – Angry Mainstream Media Sounds Off
15. TED CANTU: Search Engine Optimization Results – Local Search 2 Years Later
16. TED CANTU – HOT METRO FINDS: How Does Our Google SEO Stands Up 3 Years Later?
17. HOT METRO FINDS: What Does It Take To Brand Your Business?
18. HOT METRO FINDS: How to Brand Your Company
19. HOT METRO FINDS Riot Fest 2014 Review – TED CANTU
20. Ted Cantu – Detroit, MI – Marketing Hotline – 1.888.305.2532
21. HOT METRO FINDS: Queen + Adam Lambert Fans Trump Traditional Media Coverage W/ Social Media
22. HOT METRO FINDS Riot Fest 2014 Review – TED CANTU On The Scene
23. TED CANTU: Quick Google Listings From The Marketing Vault – Hot Metro Finds
24. Ted Cantu On Marketing: SEO, Social Media, Branding and More
25. Ted Cantu: On Branding, SEO, and Marketing YOUR Business
26. HOT METRO FINDS: Queen + Adam Lambert Fans Trump Traditional Media Coverage W/ Social Media
27. HOT METRO FINDS: Billy Idol – Rebel Yell on Jimmy Kimmel
28. HOT METRO FINDS: Seth Godin Secret Prize Inside – Book Review
29. HOT METRO FINDS: How To Change A YouTube Channel Name – 2014
30. HOT METRO FINDS: What’s Up With Facebook’s Unpublished Pages?
31. HOT METRO FINDS: Michigan Businesses Under Attack Of THE WORST SEO Guys In The World
32. HOT METRO FINDS: Joe Vitale Positive Thinking Audio Book – COMPLETE
33. HOT METRO FINDS: Zero Limits – by Joe Vitale – Book Review
34. HOT METRO FINDS: There’s A Customer Born Every Minute – PT Barnum – Joe Vitale
35. HOT METRO FINDS: Meredith Quinn is RED HOT
36. HOT METRO FINDS: Husker Du on the Joan Rivers Show – On FOX
37. HOT METRO FINDS: Joan Rivers Influence On Alternative Radio 1987 – GWAR
38. HOT METRO FINDS: Howard Stern on Joan Rivers Death – Full Show
39. HOT METRO FINDS: Andrew W.K. LIVE AT RIOT FEST 2014
40. HOT METRO FINDS: Television – LIVE AT RIOT FEST 2O14
41. HOT METRO FINDS: Patti Smith at Riot Fest Chicago 2014
42. HOT METRO FINDS: The Flaming Lips at Riot Fest 2014 – Cantu On Location
43. HOT METRO FINDS: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Riot Fest Chicago 2014
44. HOT METRO FINDS: Janes Addiction at Chicago Riot Fest 2014
45. HOT METRO FINDS: Ted Cantu Reports on SAMHAIN – LIVE !!
46. HOT METRO FINDS: Social Media Fans Do A Better Journalism Job With Queen and Adam Lambert Than Mainstream Media
47. HOT METRO FINDS: Black Joe Lewis – The Hipster
48. HOT METRO FINDS: Title Fight – BE A TOY – 2014 epitaph music fall sampler
49. HOT METRO FINDS: Weezer at Riot Fest 2014 – CHICAGO
50. HOT METRO FINDS: Paul Weller at Riot Fest 2014 – CHICAGO/TORONTO
51. HOT METRO FINDS: Cheap Trick at Riot Fest 2014
52. HOT METRO FINDS: The Buzzcocks Interview – Riot Fest 2014
53. HOT METRO FINDS: GWAR (BLOTHAR) INTERVIEW – RIOT FEST 2014
54. HOT METRO FINDS: The Descendents – Everything Sux – RIOT FEST 2014
55. HOT METRO FINDS: Rare Adam and the Ants Tracks Make Their Way To The Web
56. HOT METRO FINDS: The Pizza Underground at Riot Fest Day 2 – Ted Cantu Was There 😉
57. HOT METRO FINDS: The Pizza Underground T-Shirt From Riot Fest 2014
58. HOT METRO FINDS BUSINESS: Social Media – Engagement – & Sales
59. HOT METRO FINDS: The Replacements Make A Comeback
60. HOT METRO FINDS: Pissed Off Employee Fires Of Resignation Letter With Attitude
61. HOT METRO FINDS: Slaughter and the Dogs Comes to Reggie’s Rock Club
62. HOT METRO FINDS: The Great Chicago FIRE FESTIVAL – 2014
63. AGENT ORANGE: Live at the Double Door 2014 – Hot Metro Finds Reviews The Show
64. HOT METRO FINDS: RIOT FEST DAY 3: FULL BLOWN RIOTING – Ted Cantu
65. HOT METRO FINDS: We Meet Up With Al Capone – Chicago
66. MEET JOHN HAMMINK: Digital Artist Just In Time To Save The Advertising Industry From Creative Burn Out
67. The Riot Fest Chronicles: THE DESCENDENTS – Hot Metro Finds on Location
68. ONLINE POWER BRANDING – For Maximum Sales – Get Local Customers Now
69. TED CANTU: Hot Metro Finds Exclusive – Covering Riot Fest 2014
70. HOT METRO FINDS: The Replacements Are Back at 30 Rock – Ted Cantu
71. HOT METRO FINDS: The Replacements Return To 30 Rock – NYC – Tonight Show
72. HOT METRO FINDS: Title Fight – Leaf – RIOT FEST 2014
73. HOT METRO FINDS: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Bitch, I Love You
74. HOT METRO FINDS: Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears – Sugarfoot – RIOT FEST 2014
75. HOT METRO FINDS: The Grizzled Mighty – Riot Fest
76. HOT METRO FINDS: Return of the ANGRIEST Guitarist In The World
77. HOT METRO FINDS: The Pizza Underground – Take A Bite Of The Wild Slice
78. HOT METRO FINDS: Wu Tang Clan – Riot Fest 2014
79. HOT METRO FINDS: THE CURE at This Years Riot Fest 2014
80. HOT METRO FINDS: Riot Fest 2015 – Could Detroit Be A Possibility? – Ted Cantu
81. Ted Cantu And Hot Metro Finds Covers Riot Fest In Chicago Humboldt Park
82. HOT METRO FINDS: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds – FLAMING LIPS – RIOT FEST 2014
83. HOT METRO FINDS: The Dandy Warhols at Riot Fest 2014 – Ted Cantu
84. HOT METRO FINDS: SAMIAM Riot Fest 2014 – Ted Cantu
85. HOT METRO FINDS: Another GOOD Reason To Go To RIOT FEST 2014
86. HOT METRO FINDS: Pussy Riot – Putin Lights Up The Fires – Ted Cantu
87. CHICAGO RIOT FEST – JANES ADDICTION – Been Caught Stealing – Hot Metro Finds
88. HOT METRO FINDS – Chicago Riot Fest 2014: TELEVISION – The Blank Generation
89. CHICAGO RIOT FEST 2014: Billy Bragg – Greetings To The New Brunette – Hot Metro Finds
90. CHICAGO RIOT FEST: The Picture Books – Your Kisses Burn Like Fire – Hot Metro Finds
91. WEEZER CHICAGO RIOT FEST 2014: Buddy Holly – LIVE – Hot Metro Finds
92. THE DESCENDENTS AT RIOT FEST 2014: The Descendants – Coolidge
93. Why Detroit Is More Punk Than L.A. And New York Put Together!
94. CHICAGO RIOT FEST 2014 – THE CURE – A Night Like This – Hot Metro Finds
95. CHICAGO RIOT FEST: Tegan & Sara – Back In Your Head – HOT METRO FINDS
96. CHICAGO RIOT FEST 2014: The Cure – In Between Days – Hot Metro Finds
97. CHICAGO RIOT FEST 2014: Social Distortion – Bad Luck – HOT METRO FINDS
98. RIOT FEST – THE BUZZCOCKS: What Do I Get? – Hot Metro Finds
99.HOT METRO FINDS – ECHO AND THE BUNNYMEN: Holy Moses on David Letterman Show
100. HOT METRO FINDS: Ted Cantu Whips Local Web Traffic Into Shape For Novi, Michigan Businesses
101. HOT METRO FINDS: The Return Of The Libertines 2014
102. THE BUZZCOCKS: Rocking Out At Chicago Riot Fest 2014
103. THE FLAMING LIPS: Your Most Gracious Hosts At Chicago’s Riot Fest 2014
104. Ted Cantu Hot Metro Finds Presents – THE BOOZE
105. Ted Cantu / Hot Metro Finds Presents: THE BOOZE – There Goes My Girl