High Times, the leading voice of the cannabis movement for 42 years and parent company of the world-renowned Cannabis Cup, has been acquired by a group of savvy entrepreneurs, cannabis pioneers and entertainment veterans—marking the magazine’s first change in ownership since 1974.
Operating as High Times Holding Company (HTHC), the company, which owns a thriving events business and a collection of digital properties, as well as the print publication, was purchased by a group of 20 investors with holdings and experience in media, entertainment, technology and cannabis-related organizations.
The transaction, which was spearheaded by Los Angeles-based investment firm Oreva Capital and its founder Adam Levin, was seen as a no-brainer for many members of the new investment group.
“I see dozens of deals come across my desk every day,” explained Ean Seeb, one of the members of the new ownership group and founding partner at Denver Relief Consulting. “High Times is an instantly recognizable international cannabis brand. Pairing the name with the strategy to expand both the world famous Cannabis Cup and the magazine was an easy decision. I look forward to watching the High Times brand flourish in America’s fastest growing industry.”
With an already strong circulation reach of approximately 236,000 monthly print subscribers over the course of its 42 years in business and digital properties reaching in excess of 20 million unique people on a monthly basis, HTHC believes it can capitalize on the established name brand to take it to new heights!
The new ownership will focus on expanding the multi-platform reach and audience size for its media properties while developing new revenue streams through partnerships, licensing and events expansion.
“To say we are bullish about the opportunities to expand High Times would be an understatement. It has great brand equity and a solid audience base,” said Levin, who will act as chief executive during the reconstruction of the brand. “But I think most would agree it was not executing business at max potential under the legacy framework established by the founders. We are going to build on the strong base they created to bring High Times from the authority in the counterculture movement to a modern media enterprise.”
Restructuring operations is already underway, as the new ownership group begins to implement a national and local-based sales process and to review a backlog of deal opportunities that have accumulated as marijuana has become more mainstream.
“As far as High Times, it was an easy decision from an investment perspective, but it also speaks to our personal passions,” Levin continued. “Some kids want to buy sports teams… I chose a different path!”
With the marijuana industry projected to create nearly 300,000 jobs by 2020—with legal weed sales expected to rake in over $13 billion—demand for cannabis products, events and information is skyrocketing. And as more and more states continue to legalize and decriminalize the herb, marijuana is becoming more mainstream than ever before. Riding this huge new wave of normalization in society, the new owners see huge opportunities to expand the High Times brand into new frontiers.
The High Times Cannabis Cup, which was established in 1988 and has since been responsible for 58 events, will continue to flourish and grow under the new leadership. HTHC will use a new influx of cash to expand collaborations in locations around the world to bring more events and bring new scale to sponsorship opportunities.
“When I was in high school I used to grow some herb. I learned to differentiate male from the female plant by reading High Times Magazine,” said musician Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, who is part of the new ownership group and the co-founder of Stony Hill, a diversified company focused on the cannabis industry. “High Times also had me daydreaming of so many beautiful strains that at the time I had not yet had the chance to experience. It is now an honor to be a part of the High Times legacy that I’ve been a fan of for so many years.”
With over 40 years of trailblazing—and blazing!—under High Times’ belt, the future looks incredibly bright for HTHC. If you thought High Times was already high, well it’s about to get quite a bit higher!