One of the nation's largest cannabis retailers is scouting high-profile retail sites in Orlando for its Florida market entry, part of an accelerated game plan to open 25 dispensaries across the state in the next 18 months.
Los Angeles-based MedMen announced on June 6 it had paid $53 million to enter Florida's medical marijuana market, buying Treadwell Nursery's five-acre cultivation facility in Eustis and the right to operate 25 dispensaries across the state.
A MedMen representative met with City of Orlando planning staff in late June to discuss opening a dispensary at 5285 N. International Dr., home to a former Jared Galleria of Jewelry store that has sat vacant for the past year.
It's one of three or more high-profile retail sites the company is pursuing for lease or purchase locally, including another existing building near the Mall at Millenia.
Company spokesman Daniel Yi declined to comment on specific locations of interest, but said Thursday MedMen is moving fast to stake its claim as the state's dominant cannabis brand.
"Where we put those 25 stores will be key to our strategy in Florida, and we want to put MedMen in high-visibility retail locations," he told GrowthSpotter. "But because it's cannabis there are often sensitive use ordinances to watch for. So we have to find the key real estate that meets all our ordinance needs."
MedMen's stores are sleek, and said to try and replicate the Apple store model. They can carry more than 1 million product SKUs in a single store, offering everything from water to pet products and bath soaps infused with cannabis, touting its medicinal benefits.
The company has bet big in recent years on high-profile storefronts on Santa Monica Boulevard and New York's Fifth Avenue, and now has 16 stores open or coming soon in California, Nevada and New York.
Overall, those stores and MedMen's production facilities account for nearly half of North America's documented legal market for marijuana, according to the company.
Treadwell was one of Florida's 13 licensed medical marijuana firms, but had not begun selling products yet. MedMen will pay half of the $53 million in cash and the balance in stock traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange, a stock market in Toronto that has drawn a number of cannabis companies looking to go public.
Florida's medical marijuana business is roughly 18 months old, and dispensaries and growers in a race to establish a foothold in the market. Florida has 34 dispensaries operating, three of which are in Orlando with more in the works, the Orlando Sentinel reported in April.
Nearly 100,000 Floridians are active qualified medical marijuana patients as of last month, and the state is adding new registrants at a pace of 3,000 per week.