I’ve recently written about the downward trend in cannabis stocks, looking primarily at Canadian cannabis companies. The amount invested into their brands is literally in the billions of dollars—staggering amounts for the average cannabis brand.
My favorite cannabis brands are craft cannabis, and like most craft commodities, that means the owners and C(annabis) Suite level staff are under-compensated and on the chronic (sorry) hunt for investment to keep the doors open.
It’s yet another reason why you should know your grower, and support those with whom you share values and commitment to top-shelf quality. Buy local and support the small business owner, and that isn’t a slam against larger, financially successful businesses in the cannabis space.
I’m not down with size-shaming in any capacity, and if a company can consistently produce a high-quality, fairly priced product while adhering to principled practices, I’m in.
One of the largest American cannabis brands has been in the spotlight recently, both for the mockery it’s been receiving, and for its breathtaking financial freefall. It serves as a cautionary tale, albeit an entertaining one if you didn’t invest.
MedMen initially gained attention for their efforts to “bring cannabis into the mainstream” with a Spike Jonze-directed two-minute commercial called “The New Normal” in February 2019. It made some viewers roll their eyes, including the writers at South Park.
In July, South Park did a parody of the spot in an ad for Tegridy Farms, a cannabis brand owned by one of the characters.
As Marijuana Moment recounts, during the commercial parody, the narrator says, “And then a bunch of young corporate banker types come along telling us we’re all in the ‘new normal’ as they try to turn god’s green miracle into an easy buck for themselves. They even hire fancy Hollywood directors to make them look all hip and cool. But you know what? Fuck those guys. They ain’t got no integrity.”
In September, South Park went all in, calling out MedMen by name, and feigning outrage over people growing their own cannabis at home, which could result in “babies drowning in irrigation.”
This mirrors the stance MedMen took in February, when New York was considering legalization, and the company suggested that the state outlaw home grows.
Although MedMen gleefully embraced being mocked by South Park, stating, “The fact that they decided we’re the most culturally relevant cannabis brand on the planet is humbling,” they didn’t seem to grasp that they were mocked for being corporate douchebags, and not very successful ones.
MedMen have had issues retaining their executives, burning through two CFOs, their COO, and general counsel, all in less than a year.
In February, the Daily News reported, “The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association is cutting ties with MedMen amid accusations of racist and sexist remarks and financial corruption among its top executives.”
Additionally, the CEO had referred to an L.A. city councilman as “midget negro.” (Yikes.)
One of the former CFOs claimed in a lawsuit that the CEO and top brass “regularly used homophobic and racial slurs, and casually committed bank and financial fraud while having a cavalier attitude towards the company’s shareholders.”
One year ago, MedMen announced they planned a merger with PharmaCann, which in their words would be “a transformative acquisition that will create the largest U.S. cannabis company in the world’s largest cannabis market.” The deal was valued at $682 million, and would have given them 79 dispensaries in 12 states.
But in early October of this year, that deal was scrapped, with a contributing factor being the slide in MedMen’s stock price. Per the Motley Fool,
“MedMen’s share price has plunged more than 70% since the company first announced its plans to buy PharmaCann on Oct. 11, 2018, and has dropped over 50% since the two companies entered a definitive agreement to merge on Dec. 24, 2018.”
It doesn’t help that the company is burning through money like a stoner on dollar-dab day.
Grizzle.com asks, “Is MedMen effectively bankrupt?” in a piece that states, “MedMen is the poster child for the excesses of the legal cannabis market” on the heels of their recently released fourth-quarter earnings report, which showed net losses of nearly $83 million for the quarter and $227 million for the year, and that the company had spent $42 million in 2019 for “executive compensation.” (Source.)
A fascinating look at how MedMen has responded to legitimate criticism can be found here.
That fourth-quarter earnings report drove the stock price down 20 percent and, as of Thursday morning, the stock was trading at just over a dollar per share, down from $6 a share a year ago.