Cannabis Retail Goes Mainstream

Cannabis at Retail MedMen

Post from Jim Cusson, President at Theory House

Last week I was in Las Vegas to moderate a panel at Groceryshop, a conference focused on disruptive new trends in grocery and CPG. On my way back to the airport I spotted the bright neon signs in a strip mall for MedMen, a trailblazer in the retail cannabis space. I had been reading how these guys were building the “Apple store for pot.” With 2.5 hours to kill before my flight, I asked my cab driver to drop me off for a bit of retail reconnaissance.

To be blunt, it is indeed an impressive experience.

Upon walking into the store, I was asked to scan my license to verify my age (and I assume collect shopper data) from one of more than 30 sales associates buzzing around the store – all wearing red, MedMen branded t-shirts. When I explained I wasn’t there to buy, but just look around, my guide Ben still took the time to explain how the store operates.

MedMen Statemade

My shopper (uhm, research) journey began by reviewing a series of acrylic cubes which contain MedMen’s Statemade products which come in packaging similar to that of high-end cosmetics. Buds are presented in copper-lidded jars similar to those that might contain cosmetic cream. Joints, vaporizers and drops come in tubes that resemble eyeliner or lipstick. The products are named and marketed according to the desired effect — Joy, Ebb, Zen, ZZZ, and the like.

MedMen edibles cannabis retai

Once you decide on the effect you’re after, you move to a series of wood tables to get a closer look at the products and delivery form factors. At every station is an interactive tablet which details the characteristics and ingredients of the product. Newcomers are invited to smell the variety of buds, but no sampling is allowed. There is also a table of edibles to consider and a refrigerated case for infused drinks.

MedMen cannabis retail

Once you are ready to buy, the sales associate writes up your order and escorts you to a counter where your purchases are retrieved from an out of view storage area.

Edibles MedMen cannabis retail

If you’re not familiar with MedMen, the company operates 19 licensed facilities in California, Nevada and New York, including cultivation, manufacturing and retail. MedMen stores are in marquee locations such as Beverly Hills, Los Angeles’ Abbott Kinney district, Downtown Las Vegas and New York’s Fifth Avenue.

MedMen reported average sales of $6,257 per square foot in its stores, which handily tops the $5,546 per square foot that tech kingpin Apple brought in, according to a 2017 report from eMarketer and CoStar. “MedMen is helping shape a new perspective around cannabis use and cannabis users,” said MedMen’s Chief Marketing Officer David Dancer. “We are broadening the conversation, and making its use relatable to a larger audience.”

At Theory House, we are getting an increasing number of inquiries from start-up growers and operators who want to develop retail-ready brands. This will be an interesting space to watch over the next few years as real money begins to pour in and additional states legalize marijuana.

While you’re here, take a look around

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