Neacail Murdock loves talking to people about gardening, whether it be the traditional or “specialty” variety. When he started growing his own medical marijuana plants, Murdock would spend hours at hydroponic and other specialty stores talking with owners and managers, getting tips and advice. One moment stuck with him and prompted him to open his own shop. While visiting with a shop owner, he learned that the business had made over a million dollars in sales that year. Murdock looked ahead to last November’s election and Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and saw an opportunity. Now law, AUMA allows adults 21 and older to use and possess marijuana recreationally, as well as grow up to six plants. As a Chico State business student with a passion for gardening, it all seemed to come together for Murdock; last year he—in cooperation with friend and co-owner Thomas Van Horn—opened Alpha Garden Supply. Visit 671 Walnut St., call 566-6733 or log onto www.growingalpha.com for more info.
What sort of customers do you cater to, and what are some new or specialty products that you offer?
We definitely cater to the cannabis-growing community. First medical, and now recreational also with recent legislation. We offer pretty much everything—we have the tents, of course, which a lot of customers really like. Instead of having to convert a room or garage into an indoor growing center, it’s more of a setup that comes with everything. We also offer organic [products] for the grower who doesn’t want harsh chemicals touching their plants.
Speaking of legislation, have you seen any changes since Prop. 64 passed?
Absolutely, I have. I couldn’t tell you how many customers have come with so many questions about growing because they’ve never done it before. Especially college students who rent and have an extra bedroom and are interested in trying to grow their six plants.
Do you keep up on local ordinances regarding marijuana legislation? What effect do you think it might have on business?
I absolutely do. I know the [Chico] mayor and City Council are taking a strict standpoint on [marijuana commerce]—if they can ban it, they will. It’s unfortunate, but I look at states like Colorado, Washington and Oregon, and see how much [marijuana businesses have] done for their state and local communities. I think that as time progresses, and they see the benefits to both users and nonusers alike for our community, that hopefully they’ll be receptive of change. As for what effect it might have on business, I think right now everybody is just waiting to see how the City Council will react.
How receptive has the local community been to your store and marijuana in general?
The community has been extremely receptive and is becoming less and less resistant to marijuana. There’s always been a stigma with it, and people thinking marijuana equals bad. But we get older people here, retired police officers and firefighters; people bring their kids in here. So it’s becoming a pretty well-accepted idea. People are starting to look at it more as a hobby. I like the way we’re headed.