A company called MedMen is opening its first Manhattan medical marijuana dispensary Friday in the heart of one of the poshest shopping districts in the U.S. The polished retail space on Fifth Avenue sits just blocks from Bryant Park, right across the street from Lord & Taylor.
Even for the marijuana retailer, which claimed in February that its value tops $1 billion, Fifth Avenue in Manhattan represents some seriously pricey real estate. Especially since New York has very little to offer MadMen right now — the state's registry of medical cardholders is a fraction of the size of California's.
But MedMen looks at the investment as buying front-row seats to recreational marijuana legalization in New York City.
"I am so excited about the state of New York, there has been a lot of chatter nationally lately about legalizing marijuana, there has been a lot of chatter here in the state of New York about legalizing marijuana," CEO Adam Bierman said. "This is impossible unless the laws allow us to do what we do."
MedMen's first Manhattan location, at 433 Fifth Ave., certainly doesn't look like a typical dispensary. The overall aesthetic recalls an Apple Store, even complete with red-clad "geniuses" and iPads everywhere. Conspicuously lacking the jars of sticky, green bud that dot MedMen dispensaries out west, MedMen New York only sells tinctures, gel caps, and vaporizer pens — all color coded, sorted by potency and labeled with neutral names like "Calm" and "Harmony." There's no Maui Wowie here.
A casual windowshopper, unfamiliar with New York state law, which prohibits sale and consumption of marijuana in plant form, might not even know the place sold marijuana.