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.”
South Park’s ‘Tegridy Farms’ Exists – It’s Called Brother David’s Cannabis
Over these last few weeks I’ve received countless emails and texts about a new South Park clip on YouTube advertising “Tegridy Farms.” The 1:24 minute video spoofs Med Men’s advertisement directed by Spike Jones, released back in February that briefly discusses the history of cannabis in the U.S. and the negative impact of the Drug War. South Park’s new video calls out corporate investors seeking to profit from the cannabis boom and ends with a pitch for a cannabis brand called Tegridy Farms, declaring that “Tegridy is donating 100% of profits to charities that work to right the wrongs of the drug war until weed is legal nationwide.”
“Tegridy Farms” was also the subject of an entire South Park episode on the marijuana industry released last October. Not only were “Tegridy Farms” t-shirts seen at Comic Con in July, but web domains for the brand name have also been bought. Many are now wondering if this is more than social commentary on the corporatization and mass-market consolidation of the cannabis industry. Is Tegridy a real cannabis brand, and is South Park teasing its launch?
This video keeps appearing in my inbox because the mission of Tegridy Farms aligns with our own company, Brother David’s, a non-profit cannabis brand launched by David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, in March of this year. 100% of Brother David’s profits are dedicated to small scale farms practicing regenerative organic agriculture and fighting a system that unjustly criminalizes cannabis.
Furthermore, Brother David’s and the farmers we source from are fighting back against the Big Ag model of production. Large cannabis conglomerates practice industrial agriculture, which uses massive chemical inputs and requires unnecessary high volumes of fossil fuel energy to run intensive indoor growing facilities. This model has extremely negative consequences for the environment, and only further consolidates the means and power of production in the hands of the few.
In contrast, Brother David’s sources cannabis exclusively from small-scale heritage farmers who are Sun+Earth Certified — meaning, these farmers cultivate the plant outdoors in natural sunlight, in living soils, within a regenerative organic farming model, and uphold fair and socially just labor practices. Our model is better for both people and the planet.
And ironically, though the South Park video takes a jab at Med Men, Med Men was among the first retailers to agree to sell Brother David’s. We hope more retailers will embrace our vision and help get our product out to the world.
Whether Tegridy Farms will be a real company, or the new video is simply a provocation — the concept described in Tegridy Farms’ spoof ad is already a reality at Brother David’s.
If Tegridy Farms is real, and I hope it is, Brother David’s invites Tegridy Farms to join us in the fight against the chemical-industrial-for-profit model that is usurping the cannabis industry. In fact, we invite all cannabis producers to join in solidarity to end the Drug War, to support efforts to empower those most marginalized by it, and to adopt clean, ethical, and regenerative cannabis cultivation practices.
Brother David’s is real, no joke, and is dedicated to selling cannabis with integrity. We hope to welcome Tegridy Farms, and many others, to the good fight.