ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The so-called “Apple Store of Weed Shops,” Los Angeles-based MedMen, will celebrate the grand opening of its first Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary in St. Petersburg on Wednesday.

  • Second MedMen store in Florida
  • Company plans to have 12 Florida stores by end of year
  • Company supports Make It Legal Florida initiative

“We’re in downtown St. Petersburg offering access to safe, regulated cannabis to St. Petersburg residents and really the Tampa Bay area,” said Nick Hansen, MedMen’s V.P. of Government Affairs. “We are known for our bright red. You can’t miss us if you come by our store.”  

The shiny, bright red store that resembles a jewel box is located at 326 5th Avenue North and looks more like an Apple store inside the building.

That’s because MedMen used the same designer as Apple to offer customers a high tech deluxe service. 

“We really take a lot of pride in our aesthetics,” said Hansen. “We want you to walk in and have that retail experience. Really, the founding of MedMen was bringing cannabis out of sort of that back alley for patients.”

Patients can use iPads to scroll through the variety or products that are available for sale, such as flowers, oil, pills, patches and creams. Hansen said edibles are not yet offered in Florida because the rules for that product are still being written. 

The brands offered are MedMen, LuxLyte and [statemade].

“For our patients, primarily they want to see that they have multiple choices, because not all cannabis is made the same. In fact, none of it is,” Hansen said. “Formulations are proprietary, as well as our strain, so, we spend a lot of time offering a lot of varieties for our patients.”

Support for legalizing marijuana

MedMen supports the legalization of marijuana in Florida and is backing that initiative through the political committee Make It Legal Florida, which is gathering signatures for the 2020 ballot.

“You need 766,200 signatures by February 1 and we’re on track to make the ballot,” said Hansen. “We’re excited about that. We have folks across the state, almost 500 people collecting petitions every day.”

The proposed constitutional amendment would legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces for adults 21 and older that must be purchased from a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center. 

“A super majority of Floridians want access to safe and regulated cannabis for adults,” said Hansen. “We’re just happy to be a part of that movement.”

Under the proposed constitutional amendment, growing marijuana at home would still be illegal, which upsets some advocates. Hansen said they left “home grow” off the ballot language because it makes the amendment more likely to pass.

“The shorter the ballot, the better success you have at passing,” he said. “Home grow was just not something we felt we could get both by the Supreme Court and that 60-percent of Floridians would support.”

Hansen believes home grow will be a future step in the movement.

The St. Pete location is home to the second MedMen store in Florida. The first store opened in West Palm Beach.

Hansen said the company plans to have a dozen MedMen stores open across Florida by the end of the year.