The dispensary chain MedMen was once the largest pot shop franchise in the US, but they’re closing their Cow Hollow shop in SF today, amidst widespread closures of their stores across California.

Marijuana dispensary chain MedMen was once hailed as the first cannabis “unicorn” company with a billion-dollar valuation, actually a $3 billion valuation in 2018, and the following year they had more dispensaries in the US than any other company. But the formerly so-called “Apple Store of weed” appears to be rotting. SFGate reported in January that MedMen’s valuation had fallen to literally $0, as the company has burned through all its cash and is awash in unpaid bills.

Now SFNews has learned that MedMen will be closing its Cow Hollow shop at 1861 Union Street that opened two years ago. Its last day in business will be today, Thursday March 7, according to store staff. The SF shop is the last remaining MedMen location in the Bay Area.

A store associate told SFNews Thursday afternoon, “This is our last day of business, temporarily.” There was no timeline given on that “temporarily” qualifier.


But there are other massive issues that indicate this closure might not be temporary. Namely, the MedMen website is currently down, displaying the message  “We’ll Be Back Soon” and “Sorry, we’re down for scheduled maintenance.” And just last month, the trade publication Marijuana Business Daily reported that MedMen had closed their Emeryville and San Jose shops, leaving the Cow Hollow location as the only remaining Bay Area MedMen shop.

Screenshot via Yelp

The Yelp pages for the San Jose MedMen and Emeryville MedMen both describe the shops as "temporarily closed," but say they are "Scheduled to reopen on December 31, 2024." There is no such claimer on the San Francisco MedMen Yelp page.

SFNews reached out for comment from MedMen’s headquarters, and from the shop’s co-owner Malcolm Joshua Weitz, but we’ve received no response. (Weitz is the store’s co-owner under the San Francisco Office of Cannabis equity requirements, which require partial local ownership of larger cannabis chain stores operating in the city.)

MedMen's social media channels have also been silent for weeks. But ironically, Weitz did comment for a Wall Street Journal story last week where he spoke in favor of Mayor Breed’s drug screening for welfare recipients ballot measure. “I felt it talking to biz owners,” Weitz declared on Twitter. “No more experiments. Time to get back to doing the fundamentals really well.”

Yeah, about that “doing the fundamentals really well.” The national chain MedMen has a notoriously checkered past, which made them a running joke on the show South Park. A 2021 corporate restructuring and overhaul may have softened their image, but the company appears drowning in red ink and on the verge of collapse.

Back in their billion-dollar (on paper) unicorn days, MedMen had a sponsorship deal with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, had former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on their board of directors, and had film director Spike Jonze making their commercials. But the company had startup bro excesses and lawsuits galore, well documented in the 2020 Politico longform article called “Lavish Parties, Greedy Pols and Panic Rooms: How the ‘Apple of Pot’ Collapsed.”  

A 2021 corporate reboot did not have the desired effect. Marijuana Business Daily reported last month that the company still owes on massive amounts in unpaid invoices to its distributors and its employees. The company has had large-scale layoffs this year, let go of its third CEO in two years, and just closed its flagship store in West Hollywood, among a rash of other recent store closures.

SFGate reported in early February that MedMen had “$137 million more in debt than assets with only $15 million of cash on hand.” So the closure of the SF store may be part of a larger trainwreck currently happening in real time.

As an interesting aside, the SF Business Times noted last month that the owner-defaulted building at 532 Sutter Street was scheduled to become a MedMen in 2018, and the owner sued them for $2 million for defaulting on their 10-year lease. The retail dispensary permit and the ‘smoking lounge’ permit for the property are still valid, though would require a difficult transfer process.  

So the only MedMen location ever to actually open in San Francisco now appears kaput, for the foreseeable future at least. They’re open til 7 pm Thursday night, so stoners, you might want to swing by for some outstanding going-out-of-business deals.

Related: The Biggest Cannabis Dispensary Chain Yet to Arrive in SF, MedMen, Opens Store in Cow Hollow [SFNews]

Image: Joe Kukura, SFNews