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MedMen in Jeopardy of Being Kicked Out of City’s Cannabis Process

Published on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 | 5:04 pm

[Updated]  Pasadena Now has learned that MME Retail, also known as MedMen, could lose the right to move forward in the city’s cannabis process.

According to a July 1 letter signed by Assistant City Manager Nicholas Rodriguez and obtained by Pasadena Now, the city has determined that material control of the company has changed due to turnover within the organization.

At least seven officials listed in MedMen’s initial January 2019 application as owners or key staff, have left MedMen, a change in ownership and/or management is not allowed and is considered material where it constitutes a “change of control,” according to the city’s process.

“The City Manager has reviewed the allegations and evidence regarding MedMen’s change of ownership and/or management, and believes that the changes at MedMen appear to be material and to rise to the level of a change of control,” the letter states.

The company has 10 days to prove it remains under the control of the people listed on its application.

According to the process, it was made clear during the process that the evaluation and final interview was to be of the actual team to be working in Pasadena.

“If the City Manager finds there was a change of control, MedMen shall lose the right to proceed through the cannabis permitting process and its application will be rejected. Any decision of the City Manager shall be final and there shall be no appeal therefrom.”

Allegations against MedMen were made in a letter sent to Pasadena Now, City Manager Steve Mermell and local City Councilmembers from Timothy Dodd CEO of SweetFlower Pasadena LLC.

Dodd called for an investigation into Integral Associates Dena and MedMen Pasadena Retail numerous changes in ownership and management.

City officials did not mention Integral when Pasadena Now reached out for comment on Dodd’s letter on Wednesday.

According to the letter, on June 5, 2019, the same day that the City announced the initial selection results of the cannabis screening application process, Green Thumb Industries Inc. (“GTI”), announced that it had paid $290 million to acquire ownership interests in Integral.

“The City Council of the City of Pasadena and its residents have rightly placed great importance on knowing who is actually in control of the cannabis businesses that it has approved to operate in the City, including ensuring that these operators remain the same as what the City originally approved,” Dodd said. “Sweet Flower views this as an ongoing relationship between business operators and the City, based on principles of trust and transparency. SweetFlower therefore welcomes the rules recently promulgated by the City clarifying that meaningful ownership and management changes by applicants during the permitting process must be investigated fully, and applauds the standard established that any change in control of an applicant invalidates its application. We look forward to the City diligently and transparently investigating the myriad ownership and management changes that have already occurred among at least two applicants.”

According to the letter, MedMen also should be investigated because its conditional license to operate a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Staunton, Virginia was revoked by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy in June.

“A person is prohibited from holding or maintaining a commercial cannabis permit in the City of Pasadena if any of the following apply:

The applicant has been denied a permit or state license to engage in commercial cannabis activity, or has had a permit or state license to engage in commercial cannabis activity suspended and not reinstated, or revoked, by any city, county, city and county, or any other state cannabis licensing authority.”

Integral and another dispensary Harvest Pasadena have already received Conditional Use Permits (CUP). According to some cannabis experts, a CUP to sell in Pasadena is worth millions of dollars.

Many Harvest dispensaries were acquired by High Times earlier this year. It is not known if the Pasadena dispensary scheduled to open on Colorado Boulevard in Old Pasadena was part of the sale.

Integral, MME Retail and Harvest Pasadena won the right to move forward in the city’s selection process along with Varda and SweetFlower.

The companies later began feuding with each other after it became obvious all of them would not receive a CUP.

SweetFlowers’ permit application was ruled “incomplete” because it did not provide a location map prepared by a licensed surveyor, as required by the city’s application process.

It is not known if SweetFlower would be allowed back in the process if MedMen is disqualified.

In April, city officials cancelled a hearing into applications by MedMen and Varda after Todd sent a letter to the City Manager.

That meeting has not been rescheduled.

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