Watching his mother suffer from cancer made Alex Wong feel powerless. “The medicine the doctors had couldn’t help her,” says the entrepreneur, who hopes other patients can find relief with medical marijuana, which will soon be available to people with chronic conditions in Washington.

D.C.’s program opened the door for Wong to start a franchise of the hydroponics store weGrow (1522 Rhode Island Ave. NE,, a chain with locations in California and Arizona that sells everything you need to cultivate and consume the plant.

Because individuals in Washington will not be allowed to grow marijuana, Wong expects his sales of supplies such as soil, fertilizer and grow lights will come from the city’s certified cultivators — the list of up to 10 will be announced by the Department of Health on Friday. The same day, weGrow will host its grand opening with a news conference at 1:30 p.m., followed by an open house until 6:30 p.m.

But Wong expects patients to take advantage of the educational programming, including cooking demonstrations and indoor-gardening workshops (techniques for marijuana also work for tomatoes), and other resources at the store, such as a board helping connect them with caregivers willing to run errands.