In less than ten years Adam Bierman and Andrew Modlin took a marketing and branding agency specializing in the cannabis industry and turned it into a multi-million dollar publicly traded company known today as MedMen. Together the two young entrepreneurs strived to create the ultimate retail experience for the cannabis consumer, similar to what Starbucks had done for the coffee industry. After acquiring 19 facilities throughout 4 states and amassing more than 800 employees, MedMen was prepared to take over the cannabis industry with their business model…and then came the lawsuits.
The Early Days of MedMen
In 2009, Adam and Andrew created a marketing and branding agency focusing on the cannabis industry, and one year later the two opened their first dispensary named “Treehouse” located in Marina Del Ray. After experiencing the complicated licensing process, they soon added a consulting agency to their growing business portfolio to help other small business owners entering the cannabis industry. In 2012, Adam pitched the idea of professional management teams for license holders similar to the liquor industry, and MedMen management is born. 2015 marked the year they opened their first official “MedMen” storefront in West Hollywood, and by 2018 the pair completed the largest marijuana-related acquisition in U.S. history by purchasing PharmaCann, a medical cannabis distributor, for $682 million. This multi-million dollar deal effectively doubled the amount of states MedMen could operate in by expanding the firm’s reach to 12 states with 66 retails stores and 13 cultivation facilities. In a news release regarding the merger, Adam Bierman stated, “This is a transformative acquisition that will create the largest U.S. cannabis company in the world’s largest cannabis market.”
From print ads to billboards, MedMen was everywhere. On every corner their aggressive marketing campaign was paving the way for their new storefront model, but where did they go wrong? A lawsuit recently filed against the company has shed light on the turmoil that has been brewing within the company and exposing some of their shady business tactics. First, there were the accusations filed by former employees on November 16, 2018, in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County claiming the following:
- they failed to pay their employees for the full amount they worked,
- they did not provide all mandatory meal and rest breaks,
- they “intentionally failed” to pay employees appropriately under California law,
- Did not keep accurate records of employ hours.
Published: February 26, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News