Oreva Capital, an investment firm founded by current High Times CEO Adam Levin, led the acquisition, which is valued at $70 million and gives the holding company a controlling interest.
In an exclusive interview with Cheddar, Levin said he will work as an interim CEO while Oreva “put[s] the right team into place at High Times,” and expressed excitement over the new opportunities for the publication and brand, which will now largely operate out of Los Angeles, California.
“I’ve bought undervalued media companies throughout my career and really excited about this — best opportunity I’ve ever seen, candidly,” Levin said. “As we continue to expand with legalization trends, there will be more and more cups at more and more venues around the country and around the world.”
Cannabis Now contributor, Ed Murrieta, reported in the San Francisco Chronicle that son of reggae legend Bob Marley, Damian Marley — an iconic cultural figure in his own right — is among those involved in the Oreva deal.
From the Chronicle:
A consortium of entertainment and cannabis veterans, including musician Damian Marley and pioneers from Colorado pot shop chain Denver Relief, acquired a controlling interest in High Times… Marley said his cannabis career is rooted in High Times.
“When I was in high school I used to grow some herb,” Marley said in a news release. “I learned to differentiate male from the female plant by reading High Times magazine. 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.”
But this isn’t just a new opportunity for a long-standing cannabis media brand. The investment represents a move by those already working in the cannabis industry to solidify and expand their influence over the growing mainstream culture around the plant.
Again from the Chronicle:
While cannabis is medicinally legal in more than half of the states in America and recreationally legal in eight states, High Times launched when marijuana was viewed akin to heroin. As recently as a decade ago, High Times was displayed in opaque plastic bags by Barnes & Noble, a cover-up retailers generally reserve for pornography. Now it’s sold openly in airports.
“I see dozens of deals come across my desk every day,” said Ean Seeb, founding partner of Denver Relief who, along with some co-workers, is a member of the new owner group. “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.”
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