Hightimes Holdings, owner of stoner magazine High Times, appears to be coming down from its marijuana-legalization buzz, thanks to the coronavirus.
The flagship publication has not produced a print version since April due to the coronavirus, and has laid off its staff. Chairman Adam Levin said he has since restaffed and hopes to return to printing High Times next month, even as two other print mags acquired in 2018, Dope and Culture, remain suspended indefinitely.
“We believe our media business is a key part of our expansion plan,” said Levin, whose hedge fund Oreva Capital bought High Times in 2017.
Meanwhile, five ex-High Times staffers have joined with rival company Leaf Nation to introduce Leaf Northeast in September, including Danny Vinkovetsky, a High Times columnist for 20 years who wrote under the pen name Danny Danko until he was laid off in March.
“They have been the voice of marijuana media since 1974, and it’s a shame to see that seemingly coming to an end,” Vinkovetsky said.
Separately, the company has been directed by the Securities and Exchange Commission to suspend its crowd-sourced initital public offering effort until it is able to bring its financial filings up to date. Its last public filing dates back to May 20, 2019, when the company reported a net loss of $41.2 million on $14.7 million in revenue for 2018.
In an effort to ride the pot-legalization wave, High Times has been increasingly turning to selling cannabis and generating cash by licensing its name to dispensaries in the booming cannabis retail market.
Levin said in June that he signed a $25 million licensing deal with Red White & Bloom dispensaries that will pay $10.5 million in cash over the next 18 months and give it $15 million in RWB stock, which trades on the Canadian Securities Exchange.
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