If anything, MedMen, on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, Calif., looks just like an Apple Store. It’s decked out with blond wood tables on which a range of products are artfully displayed — the Puffco Peak portable vaporizer, an electronic Dosist vape pen, the latest issue of Ember magazine and, of course, so much weed delivered in an astonishing variety of ways, from tinctures to gummy bears to cookies to just plain joints. A crowd of customers is attended to by cheerful staff members decked out in jaunty red hoodies and carrying iPads. “Let’s be buds” urges a sign on one table.
It certainly looks like it’s going great at this chain of weed dispensaries. But — like a lot of businesses around the newly commercialized marijuana industry in California — MedMen is struggling. The latest quarter of this publicly traded company showed a net loss of $66 million on revenues of $21.5 million. It had lost $79 million the previous quarter.
Not enough weed supply and too much expansion are among the reasons given for MedMen’s problems, but the disconnect between the company’s promise and reality made me think hard about some other terrible news this week: Apple’s announcement that it was going to miss its projected revenue by billions of dollars this quarter.
Apple has hung the moon for investors for so long now that the idea of the company struggling sent the entire global stock market into a paroxysm of fear and plunging indexes. It is, to use an old California trope, going to be a real bummer for Silicon Valley.
Now stick with me here, because what’s happening across what are considered fast-forward industries like cannabis and tech is worrisome. Where is the next great boom of innovation going to come from, when even the strongest brands and products might not be sure things anymore?
Apple is not only a bellwether company in tech but also the most expertly managed one under Tim Cook. He, of course, was preceded as chief executive by Steve Jobs, who had brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy in 1997. Since then, it has been all uphill, to the point this summer when Apple reached a $1 trillion valuation — the first publicly traded American company to reach that high — with a price of $207.39 a share.
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Source: New York Times