Cookies Heads to Sunshine State

COOKIES, headed up by Bay-area rapper Gilbert Anthony Milan Jr., or “Berner,” has acquired one of Florida’s 22 coveted medical marijuana treatment center licenses and plans to begin business in 2021. The license was purchased from Port Richey license holder Tree King-Tree Farm Inc., which has not dispensed any medical marijuana since it acquired its license in May 2019.


The transfer was finalized Friday, according to the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use. A COOKIES spokeswoman declined to disclose details of the deal, including the value of the purchase.


In July 2019, Michigan company Green Peak Innovations announced it had signed an agreement to purchase Tree King-Tree Farm Inc.’s license for $48 million. A spokesman for GPI did not return a request for comment.


Berner, who is of Mexican descent, is the first person of color to hold a license in Florida. He got his start in cannabis at 18 as a manager at a medical marijuana dispensary in San Francisco and by 2012, founded his own brand, COOKIES, with partner Jai Chang, a Bay Area grower.


The company has grown dramatically since, expanding nationwide as well as to Spain and Israel. In a recent interview with Forbes, Berner disclosed his flagship stores make $100,000 to $200,000 a day, with a new location in Los Angeles often reaching $450,000 in a single day.


Reviews of the dispensaries tell of interiors “unlike any shop” and lines that wrap around the buildings.


COOKIES, which boasts strains with names like “Cereal Milk, “Collins Ave” and “Sticky Buns” has had success partnering with celebrities like rapper Rick Ross and hip-hop duo Run The Jewels. The brand also sells streetwear, accessories and a curated selection of smoking paraphernalia.


Berner said in a statement Tuesday that the Florida acquisition is a “major milestone” for the brand.