Commentary

'High Times' To Go Public

With marijuana legal for medicinal use in dozens of states and recreational use in eight states, as well as Washington, D.C., cannabis media is exploding — in a fairly low-key way.

On that note, the country’s oldest and best-known marijuana enthusiast magazine, High Times, is transitioning to public ownership, according to Reuters.

This is a quick turnaround for the magazine’s previous owners. Private-equity firm Oreva Capital acquired a majority stake in High Times publisher High Times Holding Corp. for $70 million back in June. Now, Oreva is selling HTHC to another firm, Origo Acquisition Group, for $250 million, which plans to keep the publisher’s current executive staff intact.

Origo is a “special purpose acquisition company,” created with the specific purpose of taking High Times public through an IPO, as well as bank loans. Origo will list High Times on Nasdaq by the fall.

Oreva raised funds for the acquisition back in June from a group of 20 investors, including some with extensive background in the growing medical and recreational marijuana industry.

In addition to its flagship magazine, which has a total of 336,000 subscribers in print and digital, High Times web properties receive around 20 million unique visitors per month.

High Times also owns some of the world’s biggest marijuana-focused trade shows, enthusiast events and awards festivals, centering on the Cannabis Cup held in Amsterdam, which has been rolling out new branch events in California, Colorado, Michigan, Washington and Oregon. 

The company is said to be planning new Business Summits, catering to the burgeoning cultivation and dispensary industries. Overall events contribute three-quarters of High Times’ revenues.

High Times moved to Los Angeles after abandoning its longtime headquarters in New York City in January. The magazine has had some rocky leadership developments, including a wrongful termination suit from Dave Kohl, who served as the publisher’s CEO for around a year before being fired, allegedly for demanding a more “professional” environment at the magazine’s offices.

The pub was original founded in 1974 by Thomas King Forçade, allegedly with the profits from his own marijuana-smuggling operation, to advocate for the legalization of marijuana.

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