Resurrection: Easter Sunday Story – Adam Bierman wins MedMen arbitration settlement says he’s back…. and yes there’s a book on the way as well

A very Easter sunday story

Adam Bierman made a name for himself as a co-founder of MedMen in 2010 by modeling cannabis dispensaries after the Apple Store and later announcing what would have been the largest merger in the cannabis industry at the time.

Bierman took MedMen public in 2018 and the company soon reached a valuation of $2 billion — arguably the first U.S. cannabis unicorn.

But things turned sour after the company’s 2018 bid to acquire PharmaCann in a $682 million all-stock deal didn’t reach the finish line. Bierman left the company in 2020, and lawsuits followed.

On Dec. 13, Bierman won a $3.1 million arbitration settlement. Lawyers for MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF, -1.91% did not reply to emails seeking comment on the agreement. Bierman also had no comment on what the company has been up to since he left, including a failed merger with Ascend Wellness Holdings AAWH, -2.48%.

Although Bierman took a break from the cannabis business to spend time with his family, he doesn’t rule out a return to the industry.

“Cannabis still is one of the sexiest and fastest-growing industries and one of the most nascent industries in the world, and it has to do with selling a substance that is still federally illegal, displacing criminality — what a story!” Bierman told MarketWatch. “At the end of the day, it’s a business opportunity and an asset class that is large enough where most of its participants will fail.”

For now, Bierman is vague about his specific plans in cannabis while he shops around a

book on the business with the working title “Forget Stoner.”

“The concept is that what our parents thought a stoner was or what society taught us a stoner is — it’s time to forget about it,” Bierman said.

The book taps into the idea behind a print advertising campaign MedMen co-founder Andrew Modlin ran in New York City and Los Angeles in 2018 and 2019. The ads featured photos of firefighters, chefs and other people with the tag line “Forget Stoner,” in order to illustrate how productive cannabis users can be in real life.

Bierman, who is known for his unapologetic audacity and his drive to move the industry forward, said complaints about competition from the legacy market in California and elsewhere are overblown.

Regulated industries have always prevailed over unregulated competition and there’s no reason to think it will be otherwise for cannabis, he said.

“The question is, why are [regulated cannabis companies] capturing only a share of total demand? I think it’s from a lack of passion and inspiration,” Bierman said.

Bierman remains relatively well known in the industry as a “charismatic guy with a big dream” and one with a personality that could be abrasive, one executive at a major publicly traded U.S. cannabis company told MarketWatch. He also ran into challenges around spending and allocation of resources.

In response to that characterization, Bierman said he does dream big as he continues to fight for legal access to cannabis as a way to help make the world safer, healthier and happier.

“I was bold and brash in my fight and I didn’t take no for an answer,” Bierman said. “I like to think those battles helped pave the way for the industry into the future.”

Looking ahead, California’s regulated cannabis business and the overall cannabis market continues to offer opportunity, he said.

“What can be more exciting than an $11 billion market coming into operation in California?” Bierman said. “Ending prohibition and the stigmatization of marijuana — that’s a journey that’s not finished. We need passion to chart that plan.”


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