MedMen, the California-based cannabis firm that has made headlines over the past year for securing the Woodstock logo and seeking the exclusive rights to the word “cannabis,” is now in the news over allegations of racism and other unsavory behavior. This supposed corruption among the company’s leading executives, made public in a lawsuit filed by former MedMen CFO James Parker, was deep enough for the New York Cannabis Industry Association (NYMCIA) to sever ties with the company earlier this week.
It’s a smear that threatens the company’s position in the Empire State. Just last year, MedMen opened a revolutionary new cannabis dispensary on Fifth Avenue in New York City, a spot that has been deemed “The Apple Store of Weed,” with plans to open additional locations throughout the metropolis soon. As of now, the company holds 10 cannabis dispensary licenses in New York state.
There are obvious risks to the life of any business that engages in the cultivation and sale of marijuana – namely things like market uncertainty and DEA raids — but name calling doesn’t rank high on the list.
Nevertheless, the lawsuit alleges that MedMed CEO Adam Bierman once referred to a Los Angeles city councilman as a “midget negro,” and that comment has been enough to squash company’s standing with the NYMCIA.
“The [New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association] has a zero-tolerance discrimination policy for any of our members who engage in this type of despicable behavior,” the NYMCIA wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials.
This is not the first time the company has been faced with a lawsuit. Several others have been filed against MedMed over the past several months, some of which are claims made by former employees over unpaid wages.
Although MedMed was initially asked to step down from its place with the NYMCIA, the company refused. It was ultimately forced out over what it calls frivolous allegations. But just in case there is a chance it can get back in, company representatives handled the removal with diplomacy.
“We still support the org (NYMCIA) and its cause,” MedMen spokesman Daniel Yi told the New York Daily News. “We have already addressed these allegations publicly. They are patently false. They were made by a disgruntled employee and are untrue.”
MedMed will continue its work in New York in hopes of getting in on the deal once the state makes a move to legalize the leaf for recreational consumption. Governor Cuomo has proposed such a deal – something that is expected to be sealed up by the end of 2019 – yet there have been some snags.
More on this issues is supposed to be hashed out later this week when legislative forces gather to discuss making legal weed part of this year’s state budget.