MedMen is moving north. Boasting stores in Nevada, New York and California, the prominent American cannabis retailer will be crossing the Canadian border as part of a joint venture with Cronos Group.
MedMen Canada will be a 50-50 partnership between the two companies that will bring branded products and stores to provinces with private-market retailing. They are also planning research and development activities, and MedMen Canada will have access to Crono’s 350,000-square-foot production facilities.
According to Fast Company, the California-based company has 700 employees who run more than 10 stores, with a flagship planned for Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue later this year. The magazine describes the aesthetic of the open-concept outlets as that of “an Apple store, albeit with an unmistakable aroma,” and wonders if the chain could become “the Starbucks of weed.”
“MedMen retail stores have been integral to mainstreaming cannabis and we’re excited to continue that in Canada,” Cronos CEO Mike Gorenstein tells Lift News, adding that the partnership will help Cronos “continue executing our mission of changing the perception of cannabis.”
The stores will carry a diverse selection of produce, not limited to licensed producers owned by Cronos, such as Peace Naturals and OGBC. Cronos Group, which is based in Stayner, Ont., also has ventures in Germany, Israel, and Australia.
Stephen Easton, economics professor at Simon Fraser University in B.C., says this likely won’t be the last cross-border collaboration.
“This is just a harbinger of things to come. Like any business, there will be a period of rapid growth, some consolidation, then a bunch of mergers and people trying to find the right organizational structure to make it work,” Easton says.
“It’s the wild west, and it can’t get any wilder or further west.”
This isn’t the first connection MedMen has to Canada. It recently sold a $25-million minority stake to Canadian investment firm Captor Capital that gave the company, according to Business Insider, making it “the first U.S. cannabis startup to achieve elusive ‘unicorn’ status” with a $1 billion valuation.