Who on Wall Street is Backing the Bud Business?

GrowOp Technologies Ltd. is working with New York’s Ardent Advisors to go public soon, bringing a company with operations centered on the marijuana-growing industry to the equities markets. Founder Derek Peterson says he expects that once the pot-light enterprise locks down another round of financing from a foreign backer (who he declined to identify) GrowOp will get IPO paperwork to regulators a few weeks later.

Peterson describes existing backers, who have pumped about $1.3 million into GrowOp, as including attorneys and individuals affiliated with hedge funds. He declined to name them, but, surely, once the S-1 goes out, we’ll have a better idea of who on Wall St. is long.

The GrowOp CEO and president says he’s concerned about the political climate affecting a company with a public listing. “We have been pretty comfortable with President Obama in office,” he said. But, still, even a step to the right in Washington in 2012 won’t send the business up in smoke.

Perhaps this is because GrowOp isn’t just dependent on the states that have created regulations encouraging marijuana cultivation, places like Colorado, Michigan, California, Rhode Island and Maine, where “medicine” can be developed in lots ranging from 10,000 to 20,000 square feet.

“People are ordering in every state,” Peterson says.

To be clear, GrowOp is wholly on the up-and-up. It’s up to the consumer as to what the lights are used to cultivate. (Hheck, you could grow obscenely expensive indoor hydroponic tomatoes, if you were so inclined). But the marijuana market isn’t just for nickel-and-dimers any more. It’s a heady business projected to generate $1.7 billion in revenue; even plant food maker Scott’s Miracle Gro is getting into the game, developing feed specially designed for growing ganja.

GrowOp has been blazing through cash, but for good reason. The company is looking to expand to a new shipping facility outside of its Northern California operations to satisfy growing East Coast demand more cheaply. In recent weeks, GrowOp has established a broader presence through retailers and looks to further deepen its ties with regional distributors. In fact, Peterson says, the company is working on developing more efficient lighting mechanisms, as well. 247WallSt.com spoke with Peterson in March, and he said the company is targeting $4 million-$5 million in sales for this year and up to $15 million in annual sales for 2012. He’s even gone as far as to say he wants his company to become the Apple of hydroponic technology—no small feat.