The Weirdos State of the Union

To celebrate the second birthday of WEIRDOS, our VP of Content waxes on the year we’ve had, and where we’re going from here.

By
Jon Cappetta

Another year being weird is in the books, and what an eventful one it’s been! From THCa to Schedule III, our community is jumping through as many loopholes as ever, and with just as many doomsayers out there waiting to yuck our yum. It can be both exhausting and exhilarating at the same damn time.

As usual though, while the doom & gloom may be great for headlines & clicks, the hearts of the diehards beat on. Our demise is continuously overstated – we’re a resilient kind. We continue to find a way.

Over the past year we’ve covered some major ground in our little experiment over here – from fighting bullshit legislation, to sounding the alarm about spray terps, rebranding the term stoner to praising mylar bags – it’s hard to think of any hot button issues we DIDN’T bitch about. We campaigned for small batch, and macrodosing, while asking important questions like ‘can weed bring us closer to god?’ and ‘who raised you fucking people?’. I called many of us addicts, while Matt called those who don’t smoke cops. (Only teasing, he didn’t say that.) But to say we’ve got range, and depth, at this point I’d say that’s a pretty massive understatement. We’re fuckin’ meta, baby. (The adjective, not the company.) It’s crazy to see the legs this lil’ section has developed, and the voices that are now asking to be a part of it – we’re truly just getting started…

But if you remember last year’s recap, I had promised to evolve this section with some new features & assets that I thought would be coming online and well… they didn’t. Instead, some other things happened, and we’ve had to take a different direction, so let’s start there.

What’s going on with High Times?

Now if you’ve been following the news lately you might’ve seen some stories out there starting to count us out, or preying on our demise. I’ve had a lot of articles shared with me over the past few weeks that contained questionable information about the company and our situation, so I figured this was a good medium to set the record straight. I know every person that dislikes the brand or me personally has shared these articles, and celebrated that we’re likely all out of jobs. Well friends, I hate to break it to you, but the truth, as always, is likely going to be much less satisfying than the idea you’ve made up in your head. You’ve got some valid questions and while I don’t have all the answers right now, I’d like to give a little update for all of you wondering what’s up.

Right now, High Times is in the process of a rebirth. While I can’t speak to or for any other area of the High Times enterprise, I can speak to what’s going on in this particular house. As you all know, our media business is an important cornerstone of this industry. Now in its 50th year of operation, the magazine’s voice has been a rallying cry for our culture longer than most of us have been alive, and it’s one many people, including myself, would like to see given the proper love and care it deserves in order for it to continue to bear fruit for the community for many years to come. Because of that, and many other things that actually have very little to do with us, High Times is currently in the process of changing ownership.

What does this mean?

Similar to the acquisition that happened in 2017, sometime in the next few weeks, or months, High Times will be acquired, and thus have a new owner. We are in a process right now where court appointed representatives are studying what we do & packaging up our business to offer it to potentially interested parties who may want to develop or operate it going forward. This is company-wide, and every asset and business area we have is being analyzed. 

Now, our media business has operated independently from the other business areas forever, but it is possible, and honestly likely, that this side of High Times will be separated from some of the other assets our former leadership amassed over the past few years. I know that this may seem like a loss for the brand, but in reality optimizing our lean business model in order to ensure we can grow and prosper for years to come is essential for every business, and it’s the media side’s biggest priority. This is likely a necessary decision for the future of all of our current business areas. Speaking for my team, we all love what we do, and are honored to do it – we simply can not imagine letting this voice fall off into the ether, and we’re doing everything in our power to protect it. While it’s not 100% in our control, I’m feeling pretty good about the future right now, for the first time in a while.

While sure, any change of this magnitude is scary, and uncertain, the truth is that High Times is an incredibly resilient brand. It WANTS to breathe, and grow – it just needs the room to do so. Had you told me 10 years ago High Times would be publishing longer than VICE I probably wouldn’t have believed you, but with all I’ve seen over the past 7 years here it no longer surprises me. I have watched countless people try to hold us down or count us out in my time here, and none have been successful. The brand continually carries on in spite of whatever gets in its way. High Times really is just like the plant we all love so much, it’s a weed – it’ll bloom through whatever cracks of light it gets. And we’re here to prod those little cracks to let some more light in.

Now, while I can’t promise that whoever the new owner is will want to keep me or any of this around, I can tell you my priority is ensuring this team continues on. That the work continues on. What I can promise you, dear reader, is that I will keep doing whatever in my power is best for this business, this brand, this community, and the information that you deserve, no matter what the future brings, or what may happen to my role at this company. I have fought many an executive who thought we could just Chat GPT this work out, and I am not afraid to continue that argument as long as they’ll have me, but we don’t get to control everything… Whatever the case, we’ll find a way forward.

Silver Linings

So with that brief explainer, let’s loop back around to my initial point. 

Because of all that’s been going on the past few months, the growth that I expected to see at the end of last year obviously hasn’t happened – respectfully, our priorities have to shift with the business – but rest assured, we haven’t given up! In fact, in true High Times fashion, we turned those lemons to lemonade, and worked out some new, more cost-effective, ways to get these ideas over the finish line. We even worked out a few kinks to spruce the projects up a bit. While we’re still underwater dealing with this sale, and addressing the very real concerns many of you have raised to us, I am confident that the new model we’ve hypothesized will allow us to create a bunch of that content we’ve been waiting to make for you – no matter who is manning the ship at that point. I don’t want to let too much out of the bag yet, but yes, we have heard all your requests for video content and podcasts, and we’re not too far from the day we’ll get to introduce them to you.

I know you’ve got more questions – and that the road ahead seems long, and tired, but the truth is we’re far closer to many of our goals than we’ve ever been, and we’re all fighting harder than ever. With all the momentum we’ve built over our collective history in this fight, let’s not forget to remember how far we’ve come. We’re doing the things our ancestors thought impossible; it would be silly to give up now. 

Jon Cappetta

Jon Cappetta is a strategist, producer, and creative writer. He has both planned the things you hear about on TV, and been the one to write about them. He has helped produce pulitzer prize winning work for the largest names in media, won awards himself for his topical takes on cannabis subcultures, and judged just about every cannabis competition that’s worth its weight in America. He is both creator, and consumer - or connoisseur, as he prefers - but he has a terrible green thumb so don’t go thinking he can keep a plant alive. While he has had a storied career spanning from production for major artists and festivals to developing nationally-deployed marketing initiatives for major brands, he smokes a lot of weed and has forgotten most of the cool stuff he’s done. Currently the VP of Content for High Times, he publishes a monthly collection of his favorite new products, dubbed the Stone-Cold Cop List, as well as feature profiles on his favorite brands.

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