MedMen’s CEO Responds To South Park’s Brutal Parody: ‘Humbled To Be Considered The Most Culturally Relevant Cannabis Brand’
“You wanna witness some real actual history?” – a video from South Park Studios prompts, as it shows the Founding Fathers of the United States of America surrounded by hemp plants. “Back in the day George and a few of the Founding Fathers did have hemp farms – cause’ they knew the meaning of hard work and integrity.
“But then our country did lose its way; and began a War on Drugs that was, and still is, just a war on people,” the narrator goes on, as the video features people being brutally abused by the police.
“But then our country did lose its way; and began a War on Drugs that was, and still is, just a war on people.”
South Park Studios
“And then a bunch of young corporate banker types come along telling us we’re all in the ‘new normal,’ as they try and turn God’s green miracle into an easy buck for themselves.”
At this point, it’s clear as day: it’s a parody of a MedMen commercial directed by Spike Jonze, titled “The New Normal.”
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The parody continues, turning into a straight up diss.
They even hire fancy Hollywood directors to make them look all hip and cool.
But you know what?
They ain’t got no tegridy.
The truth is this country has always been people WITH integrity, all fightin’ for the one thing they can agree on.
And that’s why Tegridy is donating 100% of profits to charities that work to right the wrongs of the Drug War until weed is legal nationwide.
You see: that’s Tegridy.
Those other guys?
Do you want some f*ing Tegridy?
Don’t you wish everyone had some goddamn Tegridy?
Well soon, everyone can.
While unclear if the people behind South Park intend to launch a real cannabis brand or not, one thing is certain: the critique on MedMen (one of the largest cannabis companies in the world) and the overall corporatization of cannabis is ruthless – and many say, spot on.
The fake commercial and follow up videos and songs on Tegridy Farms were widely discussed in traditional and social media. However, the company had been pretty silent, refusing to provide commentary to Marijuana Moment and other outlets that reached out.
A Taste Of Their Own Medicine
Last night, while chatting with MedMen’s CEO Adam Bierman, discussing financial topics and the management’s strategic vision, I suddenly remembered the hilarious parody. And so, I just asked: what do you make of South Park’s diss?
Bierman looked at his vice president of communications, who stopped to think of the implications for a couple seconds. The VP then nodded.
“Yeah, I can answer that on the record. Javier, it’s your lucky day,” Bierman voiced, giggling.
“I’m humbled by South Park’s parody. You know, we’ve always said in order to mainstream marijuana, in order to build the mainstream cannabis brand, in order be open and welcoming enough for new people – the cannabis users of tomorrow… you’ve got to become relevant. That’s what a brand is.”
“The fact that they decided we’re the most culturally relevant cannabis brand on the planet is humbling.”
In Bierman’s view, South Park was bound to make a parody around the legalization movement. A show that takes pride in its currency could not ignore such a big issue forever.
“The fact that they decided we’re the most culturally relevant cannabis brand on the planet is humbling. It means that we’re executing against our mission, it means that we have an even greater responsibility to keep our heads down and do what we’re continuing to do, and it means that every week now I have to tune into South Park to see what Tegridy Farms has been up to,” the CEO continued.
A Testament To The Movement
But for Bierman, South Park’s parody is not just relevant to MedMen, and it’s not just about his company. This is “a testament to the legalization movement as a whole, that is so mainstream and relevant, that they’re talking about it.”
I had one question I still wanted Bierman to answer: what’s your response to the accusations in the video regarding corporate types coming into the cannabis industry to reap the profits, while those who paid the price of prohibition for such a long time are left on the sidelines?
His response takes us back a decade, to the creation of MedMen. When Bierman and Andrew Modlin started MedMen, the former didn’t even have a place to live or a car to drive.
“I was living in my parents’ one bedroom apartment on a mattress outside of their kitchen… So, you know, I don’t I don’t take it personally, because I don’t take it like South Park is specifically saying that MedMen is corporate weed, and evil, and bad, and the guys behind it are in it for the wrong reasons… I just think they’re creating their parody the way that they want to and I’m not personalizing that.”
Having said this, Bierman clarifies: the parody in no way reflects his personal story. “We started MedMen with absolutely nothing. We opened a medical marijuana dispensary in 2010 that cost us $13,000 to open; and we have hustled, we have put it all on the line, and we have envisioned a future that was way bolder than most people could ever envision. And we make this our lives’ purpose.”
“We didn’t start off with investors, with money people that came from money and were coming into this from an investment perspective. We’re the only big company that started as operators, that have actually changed laws, ran campaigns and legalized cannabis, the first cannabis company in the United States that donated seven figures to Marijuana Policy Project… So I take a lot of pride in our participation in this mission along the way, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with conscious capitalism. And that’s what we’ve been from the outset,” Bierman ended.
“I’m humbled by South Park’s parody," says Bierman. "We’ve always said in order to mainstream marijuana, in order to build the mainstream cannabis brand, in order be open and welcoming enough for new people – the cannabis users of tomorrow… you’ve got to become relevant. That’s what a brand is.”
Is tegrity weed real
Tegridy Farms started when one stalwart Coloradan, Randy Marsh, became fed up with big-wig, corporate-cannabis types hijacking the Lord’s good weed for mere profits and a little fame. Unlike the moneyed cannabis operations, Tegridy Farms only provides fresh, no-frills cannabis grown from Mother Earth’s soily bosom, with a little sweat from honest work, and a whole lot of heart.
The only thing is, Tegridy Farms isn’t real. At least, it’s not real yet.
Created for last year’s South Park episode of the same name, Tegridy Farms was originally a dig at the explosive rise of so-called Big Weed – massive, multi-million-dollar cannabis retail chains that have begun swallowing up the burgeoning industry’s original mom-and-pop pot shops. A play on the word integrity, Tegridy became yet another of South Park’s ubiquitous catchphrases, a mocking soundbyte that satirizes its subject while simultaneously acknowledging its widespread influence.
Last weekend, the South Park Studios YouTube channel premiered a faux Tegridy Farms commercial that parodies a Spike Jones-directed ad from the California-based reefer retail chain MedMen. MedMen caught flak last year for lobbying to ban marijuana home grows in New York State, and it’s been in the news for hemorrhaging millions in investments as it attempts to leapfrog its revenues by wantonly opening new locations.
In the parody spot, Randy Marsh narrates, “And then a bunch of young corporate banker types come along telling us we’re all in the ‘new normal’ as they try to turn God’s green miracle into an easy buck for themselves.”
“They even hire fancy Hollywood directors to make them look all hip and cool. But you know what? Fuck those guys. They ain’t got no integrity,” he continued. “Do you want some fuckin’ Tegridy? Don’t you wish everyone had some goddamn Tegridy?”
Even Towlie, the perpetually stoned, anthropomorphic bath towel, makes a guest appearance in the joke ad.
South Park isn’t exactly known for being a neutral observer. The show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have blasted just about every celebrity, political issue, and social demographic in the US. And considering that the edgy cartoon is based in a sleepy Colorado town, it was just a matter of time before the showrunners roasted the nation’s legal pot industry.
But the joke didn’t end there.
A little digging by Kyle Jaeger at Marijuana Moment revealed that South Park is taking this Tegridy thing way beyond some YouTube clips. Last year, the South Park Twitter account listed the weed strains mentioned in the episode, including Catatonic Tegridy Bud. All mentioned strains now have official domains on the web.
strains mentioned in this scene:
Purple Skunky Kush
Super Hindu Haze
Green Willy Stranger
Catatonic Tegridy Bud
Additionally, since Tegridy’s TV debut, someone registered “Tegridy Farms” as LLCs in Colorado and Oregon. (Jaeger couldn’t confirm if it was actually the guys behind South Park.)
Someone also purchased a web domain for Tegridy Farms, which only features the faux TV spot and an email subscription field. A Tegridy Farms Instagram account announced in December that Tegridy weed would be “coming soon to a giant online retailer near you.”
The cartoon’s fictional pot farm, Tegridy, started as a satirical poke at Big Weed. But recent marketing moves may be hinting at the show’s future ambitions for the pot industry. Maybe.