Roots and Weeds Garden Center, 554 West St., offers a wide array of soil, nutrients and technology to assist growers of everything from marijuana to vegetables with their specialized crops.

Founded by Augusta-area chiropractor Dr. James LaVallee, the shop is a sister store to Roots and Weeds in Newport. After years of searching for a location on the Midcoast, LaVallee found the current space in a building that once housed the Haven restaurant, and went to work remodeling the interior earlier this fall. Now the 1,600-square-foot facility displays a vast supply of products, including advanced lighting and hydroponic systems.

LaVallee divides his time between the two locations as well as his medical practice. He said he had decided to become a licensed medical marijuana caregiver after being approached by a number of his chiropractic patients seeking alternatives for pain to traditional phamaceuticals. After spending years researching marijuana growing, Lavallee decided to undertake providing a group of five patients with a plant they find has a therapeutic effect.

"It's a lot harder to make a living today than it once was, and the opportunity to become a medical marijuana caregiver for me, and people I know, serves as a second source of income. Once I started, I realized how much I enjoyed working with plants, and after a long day at work, the process can be very cathartic," LaVallee said Dec. 4.

Following legislation passed at the state level last year that allows individuals to grow up to six marijuana plants for their own personal use, LaVallee was approached by a number of patients, some of whom were elderly, who expressed interest in growing plants of their own.

"For some people, it's a chance to grow your own medicine. For others, it's a chance to do something for the first time in their lives, simply because they were never allowed to before. People may not necessarily be harvesting the marijuana, but for them it is just a novelty to try and grow something that was considered taboo for all these years," said LaVallee, who prides himself on running stores where novice and experienced growers can not only find useful materials, but also receive knowledgeable support from his staff.

"We're a resource to be tapped: we supply gardening needs and answer questions, but we also enjoy helping people and watching them become successful. One of the reasons that I wanted to open a store here is that there are also a lot of homesteaders in the area, who grow "micro-gardens" of vegetables year-round, and we carry the equipment they need," LaVallee said.

In addition to the personal support that a brick-and-mortar store offers rather than shopping online, LaVallee said, he works hard to make sure that all of the products carried by Roots and Weeds are competitively priced. One of the most popular products among all types of gardeners has been "Compost Tea," a fertilizer for flowers, vegetables and houseplants made by steeping organic manure in hot water then using it to enrich soil.

Roots and Weeds is open Monday through Saturday.