High Times Announces Acquisition Of 13 California Retail Assets From Harvest

The World’s Most Recognized Cannabis Brand Expands Portfolio into the World’s Largest Cannabis Market

CALIFORNIA: Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of High Times, the most well-known brand in cannabis, announced the execution of a definitive agreement to acquire certain equity and assets with respect to 13 planned and operational California dispensaries from Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. . The mostly stock-based transaction, upon successful closing, will allow Hightimes Holding Corp. to enter the retail sector and enable Hightimes Holdings to become one of the largest branded cannabis retailers in California overnight.

Hightimes Holdings intends to fully transform the cannabis retail stores to become High Times® destinations. Hightimes Holdings plans to revamp the existing design and rebrand each dispensary to fit the High Times® aesthetic and experience, rebranding them with the iconic High Times logo which consumers have grown to recognize over nearly five decades.

Consummation of the transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including the receipt of certain regulatory third-party consents. The parties are aiming to close the acquisitions no later than June 30, 2020, subject to the parties’ mutual agreement to extend the closing date.

“We’ve long supported Harvest and the other cannabis-retail-trailblazers as they pushed forward despite changing legislation, insurmountable licensing fees, political stigma and, frankly, through a process that was designed to be difficult,” said Adam Levin, Hightimes Holding Corp.’s Executive Chairman. “We have enormous respect for the Harvest brand and look forward to ushering in the next generation of retail experience with Harvest as a significant shareholder in our company. We look forward to finding a myriad of ways to work with Steve and the team at Harvest.”

Harvest Health & Recreation Inc is a vertically integrated cannabis company and multi-state operator in the U.S. Since 2011, Harvest has been committed to expanding its retail and wholesale presence throughout the U.S., acquiring, manufacturing, and selling cannabis products for patients and consumers in addition to providing services to retail dispensaries.

“This transaction allows Harvest to invest in one of the most iconic brands in the industry,” said Steve White, Harvest’s Chief Executive Officer. “As one of the pioneers of the regulated cannabis ecosystem, we have always admired the work of High Times and are excited to watch the High Times brand flourish, as they poise themselves to enter the cannabis distribution and retail spaces.”

The deal comes in the final days of Hightimes Holding Corp.’s Regulation A+ IPO campaign. Investors interested in becoming a shareholder are encouraged to visit hightimesinvestor.com to view the High Times offering circular.

Taking The Lead On High In Times Square: Billboard Ad Spotlights Women In Cannabis

Women in the cannabis industry are pioneering their messages further into the mainstream than ever before. Last year Honeysuckle Magazine, an award-winning, women-owned internationally distributed media company spearheaded an historic initiative that empowered cannabis brands to run on Times Square billboard for the first time in history. Among their landmark partners was luxury accessories company My Bud Vase™, another female-run business in the space and a global leader in custom-made bongs (but of course, the word “bong” was unusable in the ad).

For 2020, Honeysuckle and My Bud Vase™ have made history again, this time by partnering with brands on an innovative Times Square billboard montage featuring the first NASDAQ-esque cannabis news ticker and “The Bong Song,” a music video collaboration from My Bud Vase™ and the female-focused video agency High Herstory. Additional partners spotlighted in the campaign at 1500 Broadway have included NoCo Hemp ExpoCongregateAsheville HempTurnStyle NYCTonic CBDU.S. Hemp BrokerageHamptons Medi Spa, and acclaimed filmmaker Samuel Clemens Long.

The Honeysuckle billboard montage also features an ad for the company’s new cannabis-exclusive publication, Honey Pot. Readers will see more from Doreen Sullivan, founder of My Bud Vase™, in the upcoming Honey Pot print edition Under the Female Influence, releasing mid-March 2020 for Women’s History Month. This issue will profile women in leadership across all aspects of the cannabis industry, with femme-identified key players such as Emmy-winning television icon Ricki Lake (producer of Weed the People); Jeanne M. Sullivan, General Partner of The Arcview Group; Jamie Pearson, CEO of Bhang Corporation; Tahira Rehmatullah, President of T3 Ventures; Dr. June Chin, internationally-renowned medical cannabis expert and founder of MedLeaf RX; and RuPaul’s Drag Race alum Laganja Estranja.

View the Times Square campaign now through Friday, February 7th at 1500 Broadway (the intersection of 43rd Street and Broadway), a premium spot directly across from the NASDAQ. For more information, follow @honeysucklemagazine and @hshoneypot on Instagram.

Hightimes Holding Corp. Names Former Overstock.com President As New CEO

CALIFORNIA: Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of the most well-known brand in Cannabis, today announced the naming of Stormy Simon, former President of Overstock.com, Inc., as its new Chief Executive Officer. The move comes as the company prepares to develop its physical and virtual distribution businesses. Having spent the last year acquiring Cannabis media publications and websites, High Times now looks to monetize its audience of millions of users across the globe.

“I’m honored to take on this role at such a pivotal time for this iconic brand. The cost of customer acquisition has plagued the cannabis industry thus far, but utilizing the High Times brand’s global audience, we should be able to monetize our traffic by connecting consumers to cannabis products at an unprecedented scale.” Stormy Simon stated.

“Like millions of other people, I have trusted High Times for years and I can’t wait to use my experience to help develop the next iteration of our business: delivering the best products into consumers’ hands.”

Adam E. Levin, Executive Chairman of Hightimes Holding Corp., added, “Stormy Simon, who rose through the ranks at Overstock.com during her 15-year tenure with the company, has extensive international business relations and marketing experience, and is highly skilled at breaking down and rebuilding departments. Stormy revolutionized Overstock.com’s marketing department, and then its customer service department, during an uncharted time in e-commerce history, eventually leading Overstock.com to increase its revenues from $20 million to over $2 Billion. For the past two years, Stormy has served on the Hightimes Board of Directors; in addition to her new role as Chief Executive Officer, she will continue to serve as a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.”

Former President and CEO Kraig Fox has resigned as President and CEO of Hightimes. Executive Chairman Adam Levin will remain in his current role.

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

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.

High Times And Agency Unite To Sell Marijuana To Mainstream

NEW YORK: Marijuana advocates are teaming up with Madison Avenue to try to make pot palatable to mainstream Americans — and to the advertisers that want to reach them.

High Times, the 42-year-old must-have magazine for the cannabis enthusiast, has collaborated with Sparks & Honey, an Omnicom advertising agency, on a report meant to prompt big-picture thinking in the marijuana industry. The paper, “Rebranding Marijuana,” was released April 20, the unofficial pot holiday.

“Through the slow legal and regulatory processes,” the report noted, “marijuana is opening up opportunities across a variety of industries, most of which have nothing to do with yesterday’s stoner weed.”

High Times Cannabis Cup Organizers Say They Can’t Find Suitable Portland Venue

OREGON:  As soon as Oregon voters said yes to marijuana legalization last year, High Times announced it would host a Cannabis Cup in Portland.

But those plans have hit a snag, prompting the publication to delay the event until September, said publisher Mary McEvoy.

The issue: the Oregon Liquor Control Commission won’t allow cannabis consumption at venues that hold liquor licenses. The policy, which the agency spelled out in a recent letter to all liquor license holders in the state, means bars, restaurants and any other venue authorized to serve alcohol can’t allow marijuana consumption in their establishments.

“We have made the decision that any place with a liquor license is public and there is no consumption of marijuana at public places so allowing people to consume marijuana at a place that has a liquor license puts the liquor license in jeopardy,” said Tom Towslee, a spokesman for the liquor control commission.

 

AMC Stirs The Pot With Ad In Marijuana Magazine

CALIFORNIA:  In a sign that the political winds are changing, High Times — the 41-year-old monthly magazine dedicated to all things marijuana — has landed its first ever non-pot-related advertiser.

IFC, the cable TV channel owned by AMC Networks, has taken out an ad in the October issue for its show “Comedy Bang! Bang!”

Publisher Mary McEvoy, an 11-year veteran of the magazine, said, “This is a first. We hope it unplugs the dam.”

McEvoy concedes that over the years there has been an occasional ad from a movie studio or a network — but that was only if the film or TV show dealt with marijuana.

New Rules Force High Times To Call Off Annual Seattle Cannabis cup

WASHINGTON: The new state laws collapsing the medical market as we know it in Washington and funneling all public marijuana related activities, essentially, through the state liquor board has claimed it’s first victim … the High Times U.S. Cannabis Cup in Seattle.

High Times has put on the cannabis competition/vender expo/party here for three years — twice in Fremont and last year in Everett — but the marijuana and counter-culture institution has run headlong into a bureaucratic dead end, said Dan Skye, High Times editor-in-chief.

He said they tried getting a liquor license (with no booze on site) and a special event permit from the state with no luck.

And since High Times needs a pretty big venue, they’ve looked at parks and the Port of Seattle property, Skye said, but those areas “get a lot of federal money, so those people are very very reticent to open up their doors to High Times.

 

No Free Pot Samples At Cannabis Cup In Denver

COLORADO: The free sampling of businesses’ marijuana, edibles and concentrates — a tradition that has long been a primary draw for fans of the annual Cannabis Cups that happen around the world — will no longer happen so freely at the Denver event.

The U.S. Cannabis Cup in Denver is High Times magazine’s largest event and likely one of the biggest ticketed marijuana parties in the world; the trade show, expo and festival takes over the Denver Mart in unincorporated Adams County every 4/20 weekend. But when the Cup opens its doors on Saturday at noon, it’s going to look and feel very different when compared to the sampling free-for-all of last 4/20.

“Licensed cannabis businesses are not allowed to participate in the transaction of sampling or giving marijuana away at events like the Cup,” said Rhett Jordan, founding partner at the Native Roots chain of pot shops, interpreting an April 3 bulletin from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division.