Love them or hate them, MedMen Inc. is making major moves in the cannabis industry coast to coast.
The well-funded mega-chain of legal and licensed California cannabis dispensaries had already dotted the largest marijuana market in the world with SoCal locations ranging from San Diego to Santa Ana, and Downtown LA to Venice Beach.
In April of this year, the corporate giant crossed state lines, setting up shop on Park Avenue in New York City. In July, they conquered their third state, with a flawless showroom dispensary in Sin City. Now, less than three months later, they just announced the opening of their third Vegas dispensary.
So it should have come as no surprise when the company put out a press release, also this week, revealing that they had finally made their move to Northern California. What was shocking to many, however, is who they bought out to plant their first foothold in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Berkeley Patients Group (BPG) stakes claim to being the oldest dispensary in California, and thereby in the nation. This embattled trailblazing weed shop has long been a trusted source for store-bought pot in Berkeley, California just north of Oakland.
BPG held one of just two available retail cannabis licenses in the nearby city of Emeryville, and presumably had plans to eventually expand their operation in that direction.
Well, money talks and according to the oddly misleading press release this week, MedMen Inc. now owns that license and it will be one of their Apple Store-esque dispensaries serving the city of Emeryville instead.
To be clear, MedMen did not buy Berkeley Patients Group out.
They just bought one of their licenses.
But that is trim and shake compared to another MedMen headline from this week – we told you they are flexing!
On top of 14 stores in Cali, Nevada, and New York, and a recent deal to open 30 more in Florida, the company announced yesterday a record-setting $682,000,000 acquisition of a company called PharmaCann, the largest holder of medical marijuana licenses on the east coast with 10 retail stores and three cultivation and production facilities spread across New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois.
The company also held licenses for potential expansion into Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, but that all goes to MedMen now. With plans to gobble up licenses in Arizona as well, this latest move will swell the MedMen Inc. canopy to cover 12 states, with 66 retail outlets and 13 totally legal large-scale grow ops.
The day is still young, so they might not be done making headlines this week, but the final one that we will report on here was news that came out on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that MedMen had hired a new Chief Operating Officer by the name of Ben Cook.
If MedMen’s recent rapid retail takeover reminds you of any other Goliath-sized corporations, it turns out that Mr. Cook is the former supply-chain executive with Walmart Inc. and Apple Inc.
If this was the intention of laws like Prop 64 in California, and others around the country, then it is definitely working and convoluted application processes, skyhigh compliance costs, and allowing rampant license stacking were all important ingredients.