By Hope Peters
Mint Cannabis co-founder Raul Molina is amazed at how his brand has grown.
“Tempe is the first one we opened here on March 15, 2017; we were given the licenses in October of 2016,” says Molina, who also serves as chief operations officer.
“When we started, it was only 3,000 square feet, which encompassed everything, and now we are 12,000 square feet.”
Continuing with Mint Cannabis’ firsts, the Tempe store became the first one in Arizona — and one of a handful in the country — to be open 24 hours every Thursday to Sunday, and open every day from 7 a.m. to midnight Monday to Wednesday.
Mint Tempe dispensary is the largest in the state, and the nation’s third most spacious. Molina says it’s a destination.
“It’s more than somewhere you can go and buy your medicine,” Molina says.
“We have a show grow onsite so you can see a flower growing from a baby clone all the way to when it’s time to harvest. The whole process is incredible. It’s everybody’s favorite spot to take a picture whenever the flower is blooming and large.”
He says the cannabis grow area encompasses 3,500 of the dispensary’s 12,000 square feet.
Mint Cannabis Tempe has another first. It debuted the nation’s first cannabis kitchen in 2018. Items ranging from pizza and wings to brownies and wedding cakes must be consumed off site.
“We serve burgers, hot wings, chicken strips, lasagna,” he says.
“We basically make it all. We change around the menu depending on the season, and everything (the food) is medicated with THC. We are pretty stoked to be the only one in the country doing it. We are trying to push the envelope at all times, trying to do whatever is next and trying to get the industry in a position so it’s a little more mainstream.”
Mainstreaming the cannabis industry is very important to Molina.
“So any victory like that (being the first cannabis kitchen) is huge for us,” Molina says. “It shows everybody else that slowly we will get to be like any other industry.”
He said the kitchen equates to 9% of the dispensary’s revenue. There are many firsts for Mint’s flagship dispensary.
“We have one of the only drive-thrus in the country,” Molina adds. “We tried to (get approval on the drive-thru) in December 2019 and they said no; then when COVID hit we went back in February 2020, we had our hearing in March and they approved it.”
Regarding the small grow show (3,500 square feet) in the dispensary. Molina says they purposefully started with a small grow.
“(Starting with a small grow) was a way to figure out how to grow,” he says. “We were new to the industry when we started in 2016. We like to make our mistakes on a small scale”
Doing the small scale first has led to a 125,000-square-foot grow facility that will open in early 2023 at Seventh Street and Happy Valley Road. Coming soon is Mint Cannabis at 1207 N. 75th Avenue, Phoenix. CT
5210 S. Priest Drive, Guadalupe/Tempe
7 a.m. to midnight Monday to Wednesday
7 a.m. Thursday to midnight Sunday (24 hours)