The MedMen: An exploration into a Cannabis Firm | The California Weed Blog
Pretty much my entire first year working in the legitimate cannabis industry, (I for novelty's sake) referred to myself as a drug dealer. I was so young and naïve and caught up with having so much fun and doing so well I had completely forgotten I was actually working for a Treatment Center who was supposed to be providing medicine to patients. Eventually I got tired of the trap mentality that is prevalent in this industry. When I look back at that time, almost no one was treating Cannabis as a legitimate enterprise which in turn gave this industry a bad reputation. For a while it seemed like no one had, or even wanted to solve the problem of cannabis's affiliation with the black-market.
That was until MedMen came around in 2010. Recently we've had a chance to sit down with them and get a glimpse of what it's like to be a Cannabis Firm.
Their goal is to provide safe, consistent and effective medicine by introducing institutional best practices that are common in other industries like agriculture and retail. MedMen has a management company that runs operations on behalf of license holders in the areas of cultivation, extraction, production and retail for a fee. Its current operations also include a full grow op and dispensary in Sun Valley, a dispensary in West Hollywood, and coming soon other dispensaries in Los Angeles and Orange County. The company is also under contract to run two large greenhouse cultivation facilities, one in Nevada, and one in Desert Hot Springs next year. If that’s not enough, MedMen is the first to launch a $100 million venture private equity fund devoted to cannabis ventures. The fund has investments all throughout the U.S. and Canada.
MedMen West Hollywood is located in the heart of the city directly on Santa Monica Blvd right next to a classy café and authentic Italian restaurant. The shop is on a main strip in the nicer part of WeHo(West Hollywood), its probably the safest space you can physically buy cannabis.
The first thing you'll notice upon entering MedMen is the entirely opened floor plan. That’s Right! There is no waiting room or security doors to go through. Just a kiosk where you go to check in. Everything on the inside of the store has a sleek and ultra modern design. Wooden tables with every product present in polished glass cases. Their entire menu is readily shown in real time on iPads with complete overlay including prices, sativa/indica dominance and test results all displayed in high definition. Most importantly the product is displayed in front of you in a well light glass case. The staff was polite and informed, specific product questions were answered quickly and correctly. Another great thing about MedMen is You are free to walk around the store while you wait for a bud tender to assist you. A welcomed change to having to stand in a waiting room not being allowed to look at your cell phone. The collective really looks exactly like an early Tesla store. Hearing the staff tell me about their cultivation center I envisioned similar level tech at play at the Sun Valley facility much like a cannabis version of Musk's SpaceX
The inventory and selection at MedMen is AMAZING, Their claim is to be The Best Selection of Cannabis in Los Angeles – Curating flowers from the most talented growers in Southern California, as well as our own exquisite MedMen strains. Their aim may be another industry first as it’s the first time in the history of cannabis marketing isn't all just hype All the top growers are here. Terra forma, Kush Co, Pearl Pharma, and the kings of the Los Angles cannabis scene the Jungle Boyz (including special LIMITED strains like their Orange Cookies, which I'm not seeing anywhere else in the city right now. Their extract shelves looks like its straight out of Dr, Zodiac's Lab including strong showings from Moxie, Guild Extracts, Native and house brand Imperial Extracts.
The real star here being MedMens own flower (LINK TO FLOWER REVIEW)
The store also offers entire walls of medicated products from gourmet pre rolls to edibles, topicals and even CBD rub for a pets. Because of MedMen's relationship with industry leaders in areas of finance and equity is that this is one of the only cannabis dispensary's in the area that accept debit/credit cards. On top of that they do not charge an extra fee to do so which is a huge advantage for any dispensary. However, all this prompt does come with a tiny catch. In contrast with most other clinics MedMen Charges a 9% tax. HOWEVER I found their products were cost adjusted to what you would pay elsewhere.
Although reviews are usually incentivized skewing their results. It is worth mentioning MedMen's high marks of 4.8/5 on Weedmaps and 4.4/5 on on Leafly. In order to see what others thought of Medmen, we spoke to some local West Hollywood residents about their experience. Most comments were consistent in singing their praises.
“Med Men is dope, What brought me there was the first time patient [deal], they basically doubled my order.” she delighted to us after a recent visit to the WeHo club.
“They were so kind and the weed was so good I wasn’t really interested in trying out any other weed stores after that, I'm wanting to check out the other MedMen location though. I heard they have all kinds of different strains over there. You also count again as a first time patient” – Stephanie Hardy(MedMen Customer)
What I found most refreshing from learning about MedMen is becoming familiar with the Men in the executive suite. The fact that MedMen's Chief, Andrew Modlin the companies Co Founder and COO, has direct expertise in the cultivation, extraction and production of cannabis. As well as broad understanding of the culture of cannabis. Having people with direct experience in these areas in leadership positions is very important to the future cannabis and quality assurance in the industry as it goes corporate. This is the biggest safeguard against a corporate cannabis hostile to the consumer.
“What we want to do is to treat cannabis like any other product,” said Modlin. “That doesn’t mean we want to turn it into a commodity, quite the contrary, we want to continuously improve the product, make it more effective, make it higher quality, customize it, make it more in tune with patient and consumer needs. And the way you do it is by treating it like a product. You do research and development, you test, you do quality control. Having direct expertise on the plant itself is a great asset. I’ve been familiar with cannabis most of my adult life, and I consider myself an expert, but it is just as equally important to have people who are experts in Agro Technology, chemistry, marketing, regulatory affairs… that’s what MedMen is trying to do with this industry as we take the baton from the legacy pioneers and take it to the next level.”
Adam Bierman(left) CEO and Andrew Modlin(right) Co-founder and COO
Med Men's CEO Adam Bierman whose vision certainly challenges mainstream stereotypes of what society thinks about someone who makes a living from Cannabis. Adam appeared on Bloomberg to speak about some issues related to cannabis. The capitalization is impressive here and it all makes sense considering everyone who is behind it.
Another example of MedMens heavy hitting team is Sean Akhavan, the companies Chief Science Officer and one of the industry’s leading experts in the fields of extraction and analysis of phytocannabinoids. Sean assures consumers of safety and consistency of every product available at MedMen. His influence in the company is seen in MedMens bud tenders higher understanding of things like strain composition and medical properties.
However, it's in Andrew Modlin that the cannabis community finds its voice and its soul. As the experience is reflected in every aspect of MedMen's West Hollywood wonderland and in the its progressive corporate culture. It was his idea to implement the stores signature features. The stunning open floor plan as well as the polished glass display pods, which beautifully showcase the flower while not allowing cross contamination. This highlights Mr. Modlins ability to use an entirely new way of thinking and incorporate it to their business
“I have a very specific vision for where I believe this industry is headed or should be headed,” Modlin said. “We need to bring cannabis out in the open. There should be absolutely no shame associated with taking cannabis. We drink alcohol openly. We buy supplements openly. That doesn’t mean there should be no regulations or safeguards around how we sell and consume it, but there is absolutely no reason why it should happen behind a tinted window or in a back room.”
California Weed Blog spoke with business experts to learn more about the role of leaders and entrepreneurs like Andrew. “They are coming to the table and they have these great educations. Now a lot of it is street education, but that’s the reason for their success. They are able to take those skills and to the apply business world and its working out great for them. Don't get me wrong these guys are hustlers, but they have to be. (Governments and Wall street) just don’t think like them because they've never been where these guys are coming from and its by far their biggest advantage “
It's obvious that Andrews vision for MedMen is being halted by the same regulations keeping self driving cars off the road. The vision and technology is so far ahead of policy it gets held up by lawmakers and bureaucrats unable to envision the world as they do. The model here is so repeatable there's absolutely no reason there couldn’t be a MedMen in every city in the county, except that the current law won't allow it. Eventual change in US policy is bound to happen in the next few years as politics seems to be the only obstacle in turning this model from a million dollar Venture to a billion dollar one.
Its easy for USA today to compare Medmen to Cannabis's Apple . However for us the comparison seems a little obvious. Sure the store looks like an even tastier apple store. But lets face it, its no secret Apple is on the decline in the innovation department the last few years. What's going on at MedMen is on the cutting edge. After seeing MedMen open the hood to their operation a comparison to Musk's Tesla Seems much more appropriate at it seems a more comparative level of thinking going on at both. After the industry has suffered in the last few years due to SOURCE and SOURCE. The entrepreneur's have finally entered the arena. And they are here to lead this industry into the future.
So yes, for MedMen to accomplish what they have is no doubt impressive. Leaders like Adam Bierman bring some much needed business and widespread acceptance to the market which pairs beautifully with Leaders in the scientific community like Sean Akhavan who bring science and credibly to better speak to the industries safety and quality. However its Andrew Modlin, the man who sees this industry in terms of patients instead of numbers who is the real champion of this industry as he is voice of the consumer.
But in the end, for us, it's going to come down to what it always does.
The QUALITY OF THE MEDS.
Does Mr. Bierman's business acumen, Mr Akhavan, science strong background and Mr. Modlin's vision result in dank tree?
We handed out a few MedMens top strains over to our cannabis connoisseurs and once the results are in we will post a link.
See MedMen Part 2 for a full review of the meds! (Link Coming soon)