Rep. Ted Lieu, MedMen Make History in Venice

Re. Ted Lieu is scheduled to appear at MedMen Venice. (Richard Drew/AP)
Retail politics: Rep. Ted Lieu is scheduled to cut the ribbon on a MedMen store in Venice, Calif Saturday. Above, MedMen Manhattan. (AP FILE Photo/Richard Drew)

One of the world’s most iconic towns—Venice Beach, Calif.—gets a glitzy, world-class cannabis store opening Saturday morning.

In a world-first, a sitting congressman, Rep. Ted Lieu, is scheduled to cut the ribbon on the new, fully licensed, adult-use cannabis retail outlet, MedMen Venice Beach — Abbot Kinney.

Rep. Lieu represents the 33rd District of Beverley Hills, Santa Monica, and Manhattan Beach in Congress, and is a retired Air Force Colonel. It’s the 13th store for the now-international MedMen brand, a private equity-backed retail chain that’s branching out into cultivation and manufacturing.

MedMen focuses on high-profile, symbolic locations for cannabis, like midtown Manhattan and now Abbot Kinney Blvd, what GQ Magazine called “the coolest block in America.” The symbolism will be rich at the ribbon cutting 10 a.m. Saturday morning, as Rep. Lieu is set to be joined by CEO Adam Bierman and VIPs from the political world and Hollywood. 

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After decades of rejection, more and more elected officials are openly courting cannabis donors. Few have gone so far as to help christen a retailer. The mayor of Berkeley, Calif. cut the green ribbon at new record-store-turned dispensary Hi Fidelity in May. California legalized commercial sales of cannabis beginning Jan. 1 of this year, and about 350 retailers are serving all adults 21 and over.

“It underscores how mainstream marijuana has become, and how California is leading the way. Cannabis is the fastest growing industry in the world, projected to reach $75 billion in annual sales in the U.S. by 2030,” the company stated in a release.

The Los Angeles-based MedMen chain has stores in California, Nevada, and New York with a unifying look. MedMen Abbot Kinney showcases the brand’s signature open floor plan, iPad info menus, wood and glass bud cases, and branding. MedMen Venice is at 1310 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice, CA 90291.