Higher Ground Holdings To Aquire High Times & Industry’s Top Cannabis Content

Sale Price: $9340 (plus unopened box of Dead bootlegs).

Re-Branded Venture to be called High Leafly Cannabis Culture Times 

HOLLYWEED, CA: In a stunning move, the world’s largest satirical cannabis conglomerate, Higher Ground LLCBD, announced the purchase of dozens of cannabis sites and magazines this week, aggressively moving to centralize stoner cliches in one place.

Speaking at MJ BizCon in Las Vegas, CEO Michael A. Stusser said the deal had been a long time coming. “How many stories about Seth Rogen or close-up pics of stank bud do you really need?” Stusser exhaled. “Our acquisition will enable us to consolidate the various marijuana brands – and by that I mean snuff ‘em out like a smokin’ roach.”

In obtaining High Times Holding (publisher of High Times magazine, Culture, Dope Magazine and Green Rush Daily) Higher Ground will have the chance to corner the “boobs and bongs” market (aka weed porn), along with re-licensing dozens of Cannabis Cups to Starbucks. Among those snapped up in the take-over were magazines and “lifestyle brands” Marijuana Business Daily, Sensi, Skunk, Grow, Marijuana Venture, Merry Jane, mg Retailer, Civilized, the Fresh Toast, Herb, CULTURE, Green Entrepreneur, Ganjepreneur, Freedom Leaf, Gossamer, Broccoli, Cannabis Now and MassRoots, allowing Higher Ground to control the vast majority of cannabis content, and assure the number of puns and cliches to go up in smoke.

In the first official move after the purchase, Stusser instituted what is known as The Tommy Chong Rule: In order to modernize and reach new demographics, the Cheech & Chong legend is banned from appearing in any additional marijuana media until the year 4020. Future bans said to include Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg, Whoopi, Martha Stewart, Joe Rogan, Bill Maher, Miley Cyrus and Chelsea Handler. (Not mentioned: Rihanna, Jason Silva and, surprisingly, Woody Harrelson.) 

highergtv logoReportedly, Higher Ground Holdings wanted to keep the transaction under $10,000 to avoid a Federal SAR (Suspicious Activities Report) filing by the bank.  “We spent about $9500, and traded away some valuable assets.” (Rumored to be a box of Jerry Garcia bootlegs on 8-track cassette.) “Basically, we bought a database of every single person who’s ever fired up a fatty,” said Stusser. “We’ll send ‘em all a copy of Fertilizer Today, our agribusiness trade title – which we also own – and are currently shopping…” Official figures could not be independently verified. When reporters asked for documentation, Stusser said he would share them at the Grasslands VIP Party, but then asked assembled press if anyone had tickets for said event.

“Our goal is to offer customized mainstream video content productions and licensed extensions for cannabis service agencies across the sub and pop-culture spectrums,” said Al Olson, Higher Ground Editor-in-Chief. “And get into the whole CBD-thing, whatever the hell that is. Hemp too!”

An unnamed source also reported that Leafly, owned by Privateer Holdings, was thrown into Higher Ground’s aggressive take-over at the last minute. The insider said the site and app was ditched in order for Privateer to concentrate on making an actual profit – emphasizing their stable of weed-growing companies, including Tilray. Tilray’s partnership with brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev makes them less interested in un-profitable pot content. Of the deal, Privateer’s non-cannabis using billionaire CEO Brendan Kennedy said, “Oh, thank god. We’ve been wanting to get Leafly off our books for a decade now, and keep our focus on the beer bong business.”

“We also tried to buy Future State Brands (PROHBTD), MedMen (Embers) and Civilized (New Frontier Data),” noted Higher Ground’s CFO “but by the time we got the paperwork lined up, they’d all burned through so much seed money, they had to abandon their swank offices – and we had no way to reach them.” In a related non-move, Canna Law Blog was NOT acquired in the deal, as they are…well, lawyers, and have positive cash flow.

Michael Stusser and Higher Ground TV captured this year's Hot Pot Products

Michael Stusser & Higher Ground TV: This Xmas We’re Banning Tommy Chong!

Higher Ground’s blockbuster acquisition was announced at the Vegas trade show, MJ Biz Con. BizCon parent company MJ Biz Daily was ALSO swallowed up in the mega-deal. “With a hostile hippie takeover of MJ Biz Daily, we can consolidate all these dope-fiends under one tent – literally,” noted Stusser from his small mid-aisle booth at the trade show. “I mean, The Emerald Cup, CannaCon, CHAMPS, the Cannabis Congress, New West Summit!? Hempfest! How many places do these potheads need to buy a glass pipe, anyway?”

Like so many of the recent corporate buy-outs of alternative weeklies across the country, the Higher Ground deal seems similarly nefarious. “Our main goal, of course, is to fire as many good reporters as possible,” Stusser explained, “and get down to the real business of being stoned to the Bejesus. Frankly, we’d like to sell the whole she-bang to the Huffington Post. We always wanted to be called The Puffington Post – and this is our chance.”

Officials at High Times Holdings were not available for comment. When reporters tried calling the phone number listed in SEC documents, a recording with Bob Marley’s “ Waiting in Vain” played. The mailbox was full. No additional calls to media companies or employees were made before press time.

Higher Ground is a global viral marketing company focusing on Elevating the Dialogue on Cannabis Culture. (Kind of….) Their flagship show is described as “The Daily Show meets Good Morning America, just with a giant bong on the desk.” For more information about the mega-merger, visit www.highergroundtv.com or www.michaelstusser.com

MJBA Communications Chief Stu Zakim To Moderate Panel On Cannabis In The Media At NECANN Boston

Panel of Cannabis media leaders to explore “changing attitudes, access and headlines”

MASSACHUSETTS: As reporting on cannabis migrates to a broader range of media outlets and reporters covering this beat find themselves playing catch-up to deal with the daily developments of a growing industry, MJBA‘s Communications lead, Stu Zakim, will moderate a panel at the upcoming NECANN Conference in Boston.

The panel,  “Cannabis in the Media: Changing Attitudes, Access and Headlines, 2019,” is scheduled for Saturday, March 24 at 3PM, at the Hynes Conference Center.   Zakim will be joined by a roster of senior editors from major media outlets including Dan Adams of the Boston Globe;  David Tran from DOPE Magazine; Kristin Jordan, of Manna Events, a weekly calendar listing of cannabis events and news; Brit Smith, on air personality for WBZ Radio/iHeartMedia Blunt Talk podcast; and Emmy winning sportscaster, now Cannabis-caster, Jimmy Young of Behind The Media and the Between The Weeds show.

“Massachusetts presents the media with an excellent opportunity to showcase and tell the stories behind the birth and continued growth of this industry,” said Zakim.  “I look forward to the insight these media leaders offer to help inform and educate the public and dispense the stigma surrounding Cannabis.”
NECANN_GreenBlackFor complete ticket and schedule information, please visit www.necann.com.

High Times Debt Holders Convert Debt and Agree To Exercise Warrants

CALIFORNIA: Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of High Times, the most well-known brand in Cannabis, announced the exercise of warrants and the conversion of outstanding notes into its Class A common stock, resulting in a reduction of approximately $28.6 million of its outstanding debt obligations.

high times logoThe former stockholders of Trans High Corp., the company Hightimes acquired in February 2017, have agreed to immediately convert approximately $25.6 million of convertible 12% Hightimes notes into shares of common stock at $11.00 per share (the same per share price at which the company’s stock is being offered to the public).

In addition, Hightimes Holding’s senior secured lender has agreed that upon completion of the pending Hightimes initial public offering at the listing or quotation of its common stock on an approved securities exchange, such lender will exercise its warrants and use the exercise price to reduce approximately $3.0 million of Hightimes Holding’s senior secured debt.

Adam Levin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hightimes Holding, stated, “This transaction enables us to simplify our balance sheet and further our business development efforts. We are pleased to have the support of some of our largest shareholders as we take this next step in the maturation of our company. The confidence and support of our shareholders will help us to execute on our vision of becoming a dominant player in the cannabis industry.”

Eleanora Kennedy, one of Hightimes Holding’s largest investors, said, “We believe in the power of the brand, and are supportive of its growth under Adam’s leadership. We are especially excited to see the huge signals of confidence coming from the creators, and financiers, that helped develop this brand into what it is today. Our expansion seeks to bridge many of the gaps left open by the legalization movement, and the continued prohibition in some states, and this sign of approval doubles down on our belief that we’re heading in the right direction.”

To date, Hightimes Holding has raised more than $13,200,000 from its Regulation A+ public offering, from over 15,000 stockholders across the globe. The offering will remain open until January 31, 2019, but the organization may elect to list prior to that.

Hightimes Holding’s Regulation A + offering and debt conversion comes during a time of massive growth for the brand. Having recently acquired DOPE Magazine, CULTURE and Green Rush Daily, Hightimes Holding now provides expansive advertising opportunities for the cannabis industry, offering both national and regional solutions to brands of all sizes. The solutions span across digital, print and live activations.

Cannabis Industry Ambassador-At-Large: Jake The Professor’s Weekend Unlimited

By Jake The Professor

I am so privileged to be able to attend some of the cannabis industry’s top events.  As a rule, Cannabis Industry professionals are eager to support of our industry, our peers,  and even our competitors to some measure. We attend events honoring outstanding individuals, and enjoy participating with our industry associations, like the MJBA and Cannabis Alliance. These grassroots events more often than not turn into a big party. We see the best events as happenings — reunions of industry leaders and professionals coming together to learn, celebrate and plan our next battle. 

As I mentioned in my last Cannabis Industry Ambassador-At-Large column, the Seattle 4/20 Celebrations were the most spectacular ever. It was a weekend unlimited in its grandeur to be sure. 

Weekend Unlimited is a lifestyle brand. Bridging lifestyle with Cannabis. Weekend Unlimited is about life's highs, anytime and anywhere.

Weekend Unlimited is a lifestyle brand. Bridging lifestyle with Cannabis. Weekend Unlimited is about life’s highs, anytime and anywhere.


Jake The Professor was honored to be a featured presenter at last weekend’s Bongzilla event in Seattle.   Showcasing amazing glass art — including huge Godzilla sized bongs by Jason Harris of Jerome Baker Designs — the gala was sponsored by Weekend Unlimited and Leafly. 

The 420 weekend event included lots of fire

The 4/20 weekend event included lots of fire

The 4/20 weekend event was filled with fire (the kind that melts glass), and some things called Glory Holes and Kilns. There was plenty of open flames, with fire shooting from the torches used to shape and temper the glass.  The thing about Glass Artists is that they all move very quickly in a orchestrated chaos of fire. The nature of the glass artist is to move in a hurry. For one thing, the glass they are working with is extremely hot. From when we were children, we all learned to move fast when fire is involved.  But the main reason is that hot glass cools quickly, and must be shaped hot before it cools and won’t form correctly, or worse breaks. 

Come see Big Green and Jake The Professor at Diego Pellicer Seattle

Come see Big Green and Jake The Professor at Diego Pellicer Seattle

The conductor overseeing the organized chaos of this active working industrial hot glass shop was Jerome Baker Design’s Jason Harris.   Jason invited artists from around the West Coast, who gathered Friday in a rented studio in the shadow of the Space Needle in a collaborative effort to build a 24-foot bong, nicknamed Bongzilla.

“Essentially this is the Freedom Bong,” head glass blower Charles Lowrie told me. Once assembled this larger-than-life Art Glass exhibit will displayed in Las Vegas at the new Cannabis Museum in July. It’s creators believe Bongzilla to be the world’s largest functional bong.


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Our good friends from Cannabition were on hand with video cameras to document the scene. Also on hand were the local press, including The Seattle Times, KING 5, Northwest Leaf and DOPE Magazine.

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One of the more interesting things I witnessed was a an artist who had lost his daughter when she died giving birth. He incorporated her ashes into a 24 foot memorial bong. It was quite moving for all of us who witnessed this.

Another highlight for me was when Chef Jeremy Cooper arrived with a couple of boxes of his delightful artisan chocolates. These delicately-crafted confections are made with the very best chocolate — and for this occasion were made with CBD and terpenes for a unique and effective product. They were a big hit and fit right in with Weekend Unlimited’s, unlimited weekend event. 

Jeremy Cooper

The Dab Doctor was in the house, and really big impression with all who participated.  Accompanied by Chef Jeremy Cooper, the Dab Doctor showed up with a slab of shatter about the size of a pizza! In fact that’s how it was presented — in a large size pizza box. The Dab Doctor soon set up two electric dab rigs and we were Unlimited Dabbing all the do da day.

Many of the industry professionals I see routinely stopped by to get a gander of real Dale Chihuly style big glass art. There were a dozen glass artist actively working very hard for 12 hours strait four days in a row. If you are thinking about becoming a glass artist, start small. This “Big Glass” is definitely not for the beginner. Many of these professional glass artist work with Dale Chihuly. 

It was great to see so many industry friends turn out for the “Big Bongzilla Event.”  Everyone it turns out likes big bongs.  We even put one of the Giants on display at Diego Pellicer.  I call it “Big Green”. 

Big Green On Display at Diego Pellicer Seattle

Big Green On Display at Diego Pellicer Seattle

Please come  by and check out Big Green at Diego Pellicer, 2215 4th Ave South,  Seattle Washington, and snap an Instagram with Jake The Professor.

DOPE Cup 2017: Combatting the Myth of Flawed Cannabis Cup Judging

WASHINGTON: Cannabis cup judging – it’s been under scrutiny for years. The myth of a group of unqualified stoner judges sitting around, smoking strain after strain from a bong, persists to this day. Enter DOPE Magazine, a lifestyle publication dedicated to elevating every aspect of the cannabis industry. Chief Brand Officer of DOPE Magazine, James Zachodni, explains, “our mission in defending the plant everywhere includes not only covering the most relevant stories in cannabis but extends to defending the integrity of the entire cannabis ecosystem. Accuracy and quality of cannabis cup rankings fits into that.”

Six years ago, DOPE saw the need for a cannabis cup that mirrored the integrity and professionalism of the growing market. Now, The DOPE Cup is one of the most respected cannabis competitions in the country. Through a highly transparent and technical judging process, DOPE has moved past the era of unqualified, subjective judging. By maintaining a controlled 502 testing base across the board, as well as implementing objective standards that focus on the science behind cannabis quality, the DOPE Cup has raised the bar for quality, accurate grading.

The DOPE Cup is the first cannabis cup in the nation to adopt these fair practices through the Trichome Institute’s TAG lab, using a double blind grading procedure done by experts, an SOP and a cannabis grading calculator app. Outside of the judging process, DOPE made it their mission to give those involved a national platform, making it easier to stand out in the crowded cannabis market.

As a company, it’s a priority for us to further validate our industry and its credibility by supporting a cannabis cup that ensures a fair and scientifically-backed judging process. In order to continue to fuel the industry’s integrity, and further elevate the plant, MJBA supports the DOPE Cup and encourages those dedicated to the advancement of cannabis culture to participate in the upcoming DOPE Cup on April 23, 2017.

DOPE is accepting entries through April 5th. Fill out the DOPE Cup entry form and participate in the future of cannabis cups!

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