The marijuana industry has had a variety of players and has MedMen definitely stood out
MedMen, founded by Adam Bierman, launched and quickly became a darling in the booming cannabis industry. With sharp, handsome executives they wove a tale of growth, honesty and success. Positioned as the Apple of Weed, they gobbled up retail space in California and editorial space in Esquire, Vice, Vanity Fair and more.
This week, SFGate, a newspaper of choice for the Bay Area, reported they are close to collapsing. How did it happen?
Founded in 2010 by Adam Berman and Andrew Medlin, they saw a chance to redefine society’s relationship with cannabis. The vision was clear from the onset — to become “the Apple” of marijuana dispensaries. The company’s marketing efforts were successful initially and helped introduce and educate previously wary customers, including older crowds, into the cannabis revolution.
In 2018, MedMen West Hollywood was one of the first cannabis retail stores to open in California after the state’s recreational cannabis laws went into effect. In the same year it opened a splashy store in NYC on Fifth Ave. High rent for a state that hadn’t gone legal with the store never realizing its potential. Industry veterans scratched their head at the move.
MedMen went public on the Canadian stock exchange in 2018, raising $110 million at an evaluation of $1.65 billion. The stock was trading at more than $6 a share in 2018, but it’s now worth less than $0.014, with a Canadian Market Cap of $19.5 million.
By 2019, the direction and leadership of the company had not gone over as well as expected. South Park featured MedMen in 2, not one, episodes. Medmen and their leadership joined Andrew Tate, the Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Tom Cruise and others in what former FOX news host Megyn Kelly says “When South Park turns on you, there’s no recovering.”
The company made aggressive moves under Bierman’s direction, that didn’t pan out as MedMen hoped. They sought to become the largest marijuana company in the country when it attempted a huge blockbuster merger with cannabis producer Pharmacann. That deal was mutually scrapped by the two companies last October, signaling the current upheaval playing out across the cannabis industry.
The company has over $137 million more in debt than assets with only $15 million of cash on hand, according to a financial disclosure released last week. MedMen said in its disclosure that there was “substantial doubt” as to whether it can pay its bills for the next year.
Bierman stepped away from the company in a messy lawsuit but significantly lost his influence as a shareholder. Bierman has agreed to surrender his Class A Super Voting shares, the company announced in a release, which granted him more power than other shareholders.