Weed—legal weed, that is—has come to midtown Manhattan.
Cannabis retailer MedMen opened its first dispensary in the city Friday as part of a bold bet on growth in the state. MedMen, based in Los Angeles, paid $26 million last year to acquire a firm that held one of two licenses for a dispensary in Manhattan—a hefty sum in a state that doesn't currently allow anything but medical marijuana use.
What MedMen saw, though, was the opportunity to jump into the market and establish its brand before rivals do. Then, if New York goes the way of neighbors Massachusetts and Vermont, the company figures it'll be ready to tap into the boom.
“Maybe it’s not going to be huge business today,” said Daniel Yi, a MedMen spokesman, “but we’re making a statement that this belongs here.”
The dispensary is on Fifth Avenue, just a few blocks from Bryant Park and the New York Public Library. Across the street is Lord & Taylor’s flagship store—a building that will soon be home to WeWork’s next global headquarters.
The choice of Friday, April 20, as the day to open wasn't random. It's the cannabis industry’s biggest unofficial holiday. The shop will be open for on-site consultations with pharmacists to determine best-fit remedies for chronic pain and other ailments diagnosed by a doctor.