Media Archives - Page 2 of 4 - Green Market Report

StaffStaffApril 1, 2019
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3min7160

High Times Magazine hosted a party in Los Angeles, CA this past Friday evening celebrating the 20 Women of Weed Honorees. The party was held at the Boulevard 3 on Sunset Boulevard and looked to be heavily attended. This year marked the second year for this celebration of women who have made significant contributions to the industry.

Stormy Simon

The evening kicked off with a great speech from Stormy Simon, a previous honoree, followed by a powerful story by Honey Pot Founder Corey Thomas. Thomas told the audience about the challenges and successes of being a long-time cannabis entrepreneur. She also announced that the new rebranding of Honey Pot was finished and the new products would be launched shortly.

Rylie Maedler caused the huge ballroom to come to a hush as she told of her experience using medical marijuana and how it has helped her live a normal life despite having a rare type of debilitating bone tumor disease AGCG and a seizure disorder. A truly inspiring speech from an impressive 13-year old. One that reminded how cannabis can change lives.

Great, music, good food and a beautiful venue made the women in the room feel appreciated and truly special.

This year’s honorees included:

Alison Gordon, CEO of 48North (NRTH)

Amanda Ostrowitz, Founder, CannaRegs

Amanda Reiman, Vice President, Flow Kana

Amy McClintick, Cura

Ann Skalski, Chief Brand Officer, Double Barrel

Cassandra Farrington, Co-founder MJBiz Daily

Cevon Lee Iny, Co-Founder, House of Eden

Corey Thomas, Founder, Honey Pot

Cynthia Salarizadeh, Co-Founder, Chief Strategic Officer, Green Market Media

Debra Borchardt, Co-Founder, CEO of Green Market Report

Beth Stavola, Chief Strategy Officer, iAnthus Capital; CEO, CBD For Life

Emily Paxhia, Co-Founder, Poseidon Asset Management

Ester Vigil, VP Sales

Grace Lahlouh, Ganja Gold

Jackee Stang, VP Programming, High Times Magazine

Jamie Pearson, COO Bhang Corporation

Karson Humiston, Founder and CEO Vangst

Kathleen Thibault, Chief Culture, People Officer

Koala Puffs, Entertainer

Maya Elisabeth, Owner Om Edibles, Whoopi & Maya

Nidhi Lucky Handa, Co-creator LEUNE

Rachel Gillette, Attorney

Raechel White, Director of Brand Marketing Cresco Labs

Rylie Maedler, CEO Rylie’s Sunshine

Green Market Report’s Chief Strategic Officer Cynthia Salarizadeh and Editor-in-Chief Debra Borchardt


StaffStaffMarch 13, 2019
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14min26150

1.) Mattio Communications

Launched in 2005 by Rosie Mattio, Mattio Communications (AKA: Rosie Mattio Public Relations or RMPR), is a full -service communications firm specializing in the cannabis industry, with clients spanning every sector of the trade, including, but not limited to, cultivation, manufacturing, finance, technology and ancillary services. Over the past four years, RMPR has represented some of the most recognized and well-respected brands in the cannabis industry, including: Canndescent, Headset, Papa & Barkley, Flowhub, LeafLink, Caliva, Navy Capital, Seed & Smith, Van der Pop and many more.

Since launching their cannabis-specific unit in 2014, Mattio has secured well over 1,000 media placements in print, digital and broadcast outlets for its clients. An industry favorite, Mattio Communications is recognized as the leading PR firm for cannabis brands and is directly responsible for cultivating the image for some of the most dominate names throughout the industry.

2.) ICR

Established in 1998, ICR partners with companies to execute strategic communications and advisory programs that achieve business goals, build awareness and credibility, and enhance long-term enterprise value. The firm’s highly-differentiated service model, which pairs capital markets veterans with senior communications professionals, brings deep sector knowledge and relationships to more than 650 clients in approximately 20 industries. ICR’s healthcare practice operates under the Westwicke brand (www.westwicke.com). Today, ICR is one of the largest and most experienced independent communications and advisory firms in North America, maintaining offices in New York, Norwalk, Boston, Baltimore, San Francisco, San Diego and Beijing. ICR also advises on capital markets transactions through ICR Capital, LLC. Learn more atwww.icrinc.com.

Some of the impressive multi-state operators, manufacturers and distribution companies that ICR stakes claim to are recognized as the largest companies in the industry. These names include Tilray, Aphria, TILT Holdings, CV Sciences, Flowr, Greenlane, Growpacker, and Hydrofarm.

3.) GVM Communications

GVM Communications, Inc. is a woman minority-owned public relations, branding and business development firm. Launched in 2012, led by Founder and CEO, Gia Morón, the company’s client base ranges from small to mid-sized businesses, non-profits, entrepreneurs, authors and celebrity influencers across multi-disciplined industries. GVM Communications expanded into the cannabis space in 2015, and has since worked with clients such as Women Grow, Viridian Capital Advisors, Simply Pure, Tikun Olam, Ilera Healthcare and more. Overseeing the PR efforts for one of the longest running parades in the country the “New York City Cannabis Parade.” Gia and expert team – who have over 60 years of combined experience – have partnered with industry conferences to identify top talent to diversify speaker representation. The firm has been credited by its clients for its first-rate approach for crisis managment and was coined the “client whisper”. In addition, Gia and her team have work with higher education universities to bring cannabis business education events, worked closely with advocacy groups to leading groundbreaking industry events at state buildings to faith based organizations. GVM Communications represents many of the leading voices in the cannabis industry today. Currently the team is working on expanding its communications platform into publishing and multimedia. The team just signed with a small group focused on CBD products and sports fitness.

The powerful list of current leading clients include Women Grow, Ilera Healthcare, National Holistic, Simply Pure/Cannabis Global Initiative and Viola Brands. Clients that GVM has worked with in the past include CWCBE, Yale School of Business on Business of Legal Cannabis 2018, Viridian Capital Advisors, and the Emmanuel Baptist Church, The Business of Cannabis Summit 2019.

4.) KCSA Strategic Communications

KCSA is a fully integrated, partner-owned, communications agency specializing in public relations, shareholder communications and social media, with expertise in cannabis, financial and professional services, technology, healthcare, digital media and energy. Since 1969, the firm has demonstrated strategic thinking and program execution that drives results for its clients in the ever-changing communications and digital landscape. The company was recently included in the “2018 CBE Ancillary Business 155” list by Cannabis Business Executive, an integrated business to business media company serving the cannabis and hemp industries. KCSA’s cannabis practice has been representing companies in the cannabis industry for more than five years. Clients span the entire supply chain from companies that grow the plant, process it and dispense it, to companies that provide consulting services, financial services and even ancillary products such as lighting, nutrients and packaging

In 2017, KCSA launched The Green Rush, a podcast about cannabis, the capital markets and culture. On a weekly basis hosts Lewis Goldberg and Anne Donohoe from KCSA Strategic Communications, speak with the CEOs, Regulators, Legislators and Cultural Icons pushing the cannabis industry forward.
To date we have interviewed some of the most powerful people in the business including:
• Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
• Bruce Linton, CEO of Canopy Growth
• Ziggy Marley, Grammy award winner
• Ricki Lake, actress, activist and documentarian
• George Allen, President of Acreage Holdings
• Tim Seymour, CNBC
• Marvin Washington, former NFL player and cannabis investor

In 2018 KCSA acquired the leading cannabis and hemp PR firm Salar Media Group. KCSA is responsible for one of the largest PR campaign efforts surrounding the 2019 Super Bowl with Acreage Holdings. Some of their clients include KushCo Holdings, Acreage Holdings, Terra Tech, iAnthus, Aurora Cannabis and MJ Freeway. In the past the have represented such brands as The Emerald Cup, Vangst and Curaleaf.

5.) Nison Co

NisonCo has a proven track record of successful political advocacy and policy change supporting the legalization of marijuana and other causes. With over 3,300 active media contacts at over 2,900 outlets, NisonCo is one of the best cannabis industry PR firms, with an unmatched network of relationships with mainstream media, industry specific media, product reviewers, and thought leaders from around the country.

Evan Nison, founder & chief executive officer of Nison Co. He is the youngest member of the board of NORML, and sits on the Board of Directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. In 2016 he helped launch Whoopi & Maya, a women-centric medical cannabis company with actress Whoopi Goldberg and edible maker Maya Elisabeth and currently acts as its chief financial officer.

Nison Co. agency has grown to well over 30 clients in cannabis, some of which include Bluebird Botanicals, Ardent, MoneyTrac, Brightfield Group, Headcount, Terra Tech, Nexien BioPharma and Civilized Media.

6.) Grasslands Agency

Grasslands is a full-service boutique agency working with clients in highly regulated industries. A nimble 10-person firm with offices in Denver and Los Angeles, Grasslands specializes in best-in-class Public Relations, Content Marketing, Social Media, Thought Leadership work, Newsletter Campaigns, Book Development and Event Execution for businesses and brands. Founder and CEO Ricardo Baca, a 20-year newspaper veteran, has built a seasoned team with more than six decades of top-level journalism experience at outlets including Men’s Health, The Denver Post, the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Beast and Wonkette—and PR experience with clients including IKEA North America, K12 Inc., REI, Dupage Medical Group, Fisher-Price and Emeril Lagasse (bam!). Grasslands has a deep bench of experience supporting clients through product launches, acquisitions and IPOs, crisis management and capital funding initiatives. Grasslands works with businesses in cannabis, hemp, traditional healthcare, technology and other highly regulated industries and is proud to count Willie’s Reserve, Cliintel Capital Management Group, Coda Signature, General Cannabis and others among its roster of clients. Find out more: mygrasslands.com

7.) The Rosen Group

After a stint in Washington, DC handling policy communications, Lori Rosen founded Rosen Group in New York City. For over three decades the agency has had success handling thought leadership campaigns for industry associations in alternative energy; embracing the tech boom with digital and tech launches and more recently establishing a budding cannabis practice, beginning in 2013 when Colorado became a legal market. Headquartered in New York City, with a 16-person team of media savvy professionals, Rosen Group has had offices in Denver, Los Angeles and Washington, DC over the years. Today, Rosen Group represents a number of cannabis clients including Nug in Oakland, CA; Azuca in New York, and HEALTH (Hawaiʻi Educational Association for Therapeutic Healthcare), for a campaign to allow out-of-state patients legal access to medical cannabis dispensaries while visiting the island.

8.) Maverick PR

Maverick Public Relations’ mission is to provide big agency expertise with outstanding client service by a seasoned and knowledgeable communications expert. Maverick PR was established by Shawna Seldon McGregor in 2018 after two decades at communications agencies in New York City and Denver. McGregor’s cannabis and hemp experience are unparalleled, working from the inception of adult-use in Colorado to bring cannabis messaging to the national stage and working closely with national and trade reporters as well as infiltrating specific emerging markets to educate and convey critical narratives. She has represented the biggest brands in the industry, including Wana Brands, L’Eagle Services, ebbu, Good Chemistry, L’eela CBD Body Care, Fortis Law Partners, Elevate Hemp and Verra Wellness, among others.

Maverick PR has deep experience representing a multitude of sectors including the regulated cannabis industry, biotech, agribusiness, sustainable technologies, renewable energy, associations and media companies. Offerings include public relations, media training, investor relations, content development, thought leadership development, speaking engagements and response strategy/crisis management.

9.) Ingrid Marketing

Ingrid is a full service, award winning, PR firm deeply embedded in the cannabis industry. Founded in 2015, Ingrid creates brand recognition, and strategically guides and supports the people building the cannabis industry’s future. Clients include PLUS Products, PHILTER Labs, Kadin Academy and Cannabiz Connection.

Ingrid clients are covered by top-tier, mainstream-media outlets including ABC-TV, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, New York Times, Time Magazine, USAToday and The Wall Street Journal, and in target-right news outlets like Leafly, High Times, DOPE, Civilized, MSNBC.com, and TechCrunch.

10.) Cannabrand

Cannabrand is an award-winning, full-service marketing agency and the first to specialize in the cannabis industry. The team has played an integral role in helping cannabis businesses across the United States develop their brand identities, increase their marketshare, and appeal to emerging markets. They work with companies ranging from B2C dispensaries and mobile applications, to B2B cultivation facility operations and wholesale markets.

The agency has been featured in publications including The New York Times, Bloomberg Business, The Atlantic, Fortune, and Elle Magazine and has been praised by the American Marketing Association. PRWeek named co-founder Olivia Mannix the top 50 Public Relations Innovators of 2015. The agency brings their expertise in cannabis products, cconsumer insights, and the unique cannabis marketing laws and regulations to its clients on a national scale. Cannabrand has helped over 100 cannabis businesses intimately connect with their desired markets, and has been established as a leading voice in the normalization of cannabis. Some of the names that Cannabrand has worked with in the past include Women Grow, Mary Jane’s Medicinals, Caliva, Vangst Talent, Verde, and Gold Flora.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 31, 2019
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9min9690

The Super Bowl would probably prefer to not have anything to do with cannabis, but the cannabis industry and football are destined to work together. Whether it’s the rejected Super Bowl ad from Acreage Holdings Inc. (ACRG.U) or dispensaries running super bowl promotions the two keep crossing paths. Plus, there is the issue of cannabis being used to treat former players who suffer from head injuries.

The NFL even found itself mentioned in the Pennsylvania Auditor General report saying, “ In 2018, the NFL rejected an unprecedented therapeutic-use exemption request from running back Mike James, a free agent who sought medical marijuana treatment to break a dependence on opioids. If players’ access to medical marijuana is going to be compromised, legalizing marijuana altogether would make it unnecessary to threaten Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers players with suspension, fines, and banishment from the league over its use.”

The report went on to note that its cherished Philadelphia Eagles could be hurt by if players sought to live in states where cannabis is legal in order to treat themselves.  “As marijuana is legalized in other states, it could incentivize athletes — who literally injure themselves for our entertainment — to seek to be traded to states where they can legally access pain management and do not have to wait for exemptions to stay off opioids.

Brady Cobb is a medical cannabis pioneer and the CEO of SOL Global– which is currently in the middle of a five-year study at the University of Miami on how CBD can help treat concussions. He said, “The NFL is holding onto this long-held association between cannabis and Reefer Madness. It’s been only recently, with newly enacted legislation, that the public and companies are recognizing the difference between the non-psychoactive medical properties of CBD and the mind-altering effects of THC. With the farm bill’s passage, I think it’s only a matter of time that the NFL catches up to the NHL and other sports leagues that realize the real potential of the healing benefits of CBD.

He noted that the players and the players’ association all support looking into and researching the effects of using cannabis and CBD in treatment. When asked about CBS rejecting the proposed ad which only showed patients discussing how medical marijuana helped them he said, “CBS’s position is clearly completely at odds with the public’s position. A recent Gallup poll shows that the public supports cannabis upwards of 66% to 67%. So six out of ten people watching the super bowl – if not more, considering the demographic – could ultimately be a consumer of the products.”

The issue of cannabis advertising during football only looks to be getting more attention versus dwindling away. “With the increasing efforts to legalize cannabis products for both medical and recreational use, advertising standards and practices are coming rapidly into focus,” said Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing. “While CBS snubbed an ad for medical marijuana during the Superbowl — they did consider it. The mere fact that the network considered an ad for cannabis shows that we’ve turned a corner, and we’re going to see advertising and branding for these products come rapidly into the mainstream.” Gabor is the author of the new book, releasing nationwide March 2019 titled, Irrational Loyalty: Building a Brand That Thrives in Turbulent Times.

Gabor noted that the cannabis industry has been working hard to overcome stereotypes and change perceptions of the culture of marijuana usage. “Advertising to large audiences like those watching the Super Bowl — and getting in on the PR value of Super Bowl advertising — is one tactic in kickstarting a perceptual change,” she said.

Even though CBS has refused the ad, the stadium doesn’t seem to have as big of a problem. A CBD-infused coffee and will be allowed during the game at the stadium in Atlanta. “While this is not technically a Super Bowl commercial, this is a sponsorship activation, which is designed to engage audiences in a more experiential fashion. While it’s unclear to me what CBS’ advertising policy says, and whether this would constitute a violation of that, I’m sure that CBS is concerned about this from the perspective of wanting to manage their OWN brand as a media company,” added Gabor.

While the experts debate the ability to run a medical marijuana ad, dispensaries have no problem capitalizing on the event for sales. Some companies are suggesting added their CBD tinctures to recipes like salsa and others suggest drinking cannabis-infused beverages instead of alcohol. “Cannabis sales leaped 40% last year on the Saturday before the big game and this year could rise even higher thanks to California’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana,” said cannabis software company Green Bits.

In Washington, Mt. Hood Cannabis Company will deliver a free cheese or pepperoni pizza with the purchase and delivery of any half-ounce of pot Feb 1st, 2nd, and 3rd over the big Game Day weekend.

“We were enjoying a joint and a slice of Mogul Mountain pizza while brainstorming marketing opportunities for our dispensary when it hit us. Let’s announce our new weed delivery with free pizza, and what better way to kick it off than over Super Bowl weekend. Our shop works really hard to engage the local business community and since their pizza was so inspirational, partnering with Mogul Mountain Pizza was a no brainer,” said Devin Houston, Director of Marketing, Mt. Hood Cannabis Company.

 

 

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtDecember 4, 2018
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5min12970

Hightimes Holding Corp., the owner of the long-running High Times magazine, 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 had been saddled with $25.6 million worth of 12% convertible notes as a result of the acquisition back in February 2017 from Trans High Corporation (THC). THC has agreed to immediately convert the debt into shares of Common stock at $11 per share. That is the same price that the public crowdfunding investors are paying.

Adam Levin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hightimes Holding, said, “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.”

In addition, Hightimes said that its senior secured lender has agreed that once the Hightimes initial public offering occurs and the listing of its common stock on an approved securities exchange happens, the lender will exercise its warrants and use the exercise price to reduce approximately $3.0 million of Hightimes Holding’s senior secured debt.  

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.”

The crowdfunding Regulation a+ offering from Hightimes Holding has raised more than $13,200,000 from over 15,000 stockholders. With a minimum investment of $99, small investors were able to participate in the offering prior to the company going public. With many cannabis companies receiving lofty valuations, the High Times offering has become an accessible investment. Only the biggest investors have been able to get in early for most of the recently public company offerings. Generally, companies prefer a much smaller group of investors putting in much more money each. 

The company said the offering will remain open until January 31, 2019, but the organization may elect to list prior to that. The closing of the offering has been extended numerous times with each deadline expiring without the shares going public.

High Times has been on an acquisition binge since it began the crowdfunding campaign. It recently acquired DOPE Magazine in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal was a combination of stock and cash. The media company also acquired CULTURE and Green Rush Daily.  Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year.

History

THC Group was founded in 1974 and publishes the monthly magazine and produces events like the Cannabis Cup. High Times Holdings was created in December of 2016 to acquire Trans-High Corporation and its subsidiaries called the THC Group in a deal valued at $70 million. The High Times Group entered into an agreement with Green Rush Daily in August 2017 and the company also owns the domain 420.com.

 


McKenna MillerMcKenna MillerNovember 20, 2018
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Over the past few years, there has been quite a shift in how the press is “talking pot”. From Vogue covering “Cannabis Cocktails” to top business outlets covering what marijuana stocks you should invest in, the pot conversation is hitting the mainstream media very quickly.

As marijuana emerges from the black market into legal legitimacy, the conversation in the mainstream press isn’t just an exploration of pot culture anymore. Right now, the legal cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing industries netting nearly $10 billion in 2017 and is expected to hit twice that this year. As more and more public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans support legalizing the drug, media is increasing their coverage to satisfy people’s need to understand the ever-green industry.

So as a PR person representing a cannabis client, how do you navigate the slowly legalizing industry?

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE

Understanding how to participate in the cannabis conversation comes down to knowing how to communicate to the capital markets, consumers, and regulators. PR and marketing agencies are counseling their clients on how to properly reach to a whole new consumer. For a brand that makes CBD gummies or tinctures, instead of branding themselves as just weed edibles they are positioning themselves as supplements to fight chronic pain or the new wheat grass shot to take after you workout. For companies on the ancillary side, discussing how to be successful as a business while not touching the plant is the kind of topics that are reaching aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs.

KNOW WHAT TOPICS READERS LOVE RIGHT NOW

The top topics being covered in the news range from CBD as a beauty lifestyle product, marijuana legalization legislation, and how you can profit on this industry. The cannabis consumer today isn’t just your typical stoner looking for the next strains to “knock your socks off”, they are patients, lifestyle health gurus and a wealthier, older demographic looking to invest and understand. Some of the top searches for Cannabis range from Millennials investing into pot stocks and will CBD help with anxiety. Make sure your pitch is unique to what has been covered but know what publications enjoy covering.

SHOW WHY YOUR MARIJUANA PRODUCT IS THE BEST

If you head to any legal state right now, it is a brand graveyard of weed products. From THC sodas to chocolate, everyone is looking to make a quick buck. So you put weed in beer? Why should I cover it?

As marijuana flirts with mainstream, a lot of writers are looking to give readers the truth of this trendy new product or innovative company. Be an expert on your cannabis product and brand by having your pitch include testimonies and the science behind the product, but don’t over-saturate your pitch with too much information.

KNOW WHO YOU ARE PITCHING

This is just basic PR knowledge, but knowing what that writer usually covers before blindly adding them to your pitch list is crucial in pitching cannabis. A handful of people still don’t support marijuana legalization and someone covering their support for Jeff Sessions will immediately put your pitch into spam. Unless they are vocal about it, mommy blogs and parent publications navigate their support for pot very differently. Take a few minutes to research the writer! Meltwater is a great tool to easily track that writer’s recent coverage.

KNOW WHAT YOUR CLIENT WANTS

For any company working in cannabis space having an agency that understands the unique challenges that this industry brings is a good first step. However, whether you are a consumer product or a publicly traded company, it is always crucial that the PR agency understands what the marketing and sales teams goals are.

For agencies, if your client is on the B2B side, you’re going to want to strive for brand awareness among an audience reading trade publications rather than a Refinery29 gift guide.

Not all press is good press in the cannabis industry. Having a message that ties to ending the stigma of marijuana is always a good start. Nonetheless, every brand has a story to tell but what part of that story makes it stand out? There has to be more than “I grow the best cannabis” or “we are the most innovative”. Finding that and running with it will guarantee long-term success.


Video StaffVideo StaffOctober 5, 2018

3min9160

New York Comic Con features only the hottest pop culture characters. With cannabis becoming legalized in over 30 states, one would think that there would be more cannabis references in comic books. However, it remains a taboo to have cannabis in a comic book.

Some people may think that comic books are only for kids and thus, cannabis shouldn’t be featured. But there are numerous adult level comics that feature scantily clad women and most of the attendees at NYCC are adults, so it really isn’t just for children.

Weed Magic is published by Bliss on Tap publishing. The company President Brian Phillipson said he had been kicking around the idea for years and always assumed someone else would do it, but they never did. “Stoners like reading comic books, but they had no heros and no books for them,” he said. So he decided to break the taboo and publish his own.

The story is as follow: It’s 4/20 and two lovable stoners – Moe and his best friend Bunny – find themselves (and the whole city) completely dry.
When local vagabond My$tic gifts the boys a strange and exotic strain of cannabis (along with a cryptic warning), Moe and Bunny soon discover that this “magic” weed provides potent yet fleeting super-human powers of body and mind.
The love child of “Pineapple Express” and “The Greatest American Hero,” Weed Magic will delight the sober and stoned alike.  Red Eyes.  Full Bong.  Can’t Lose.

History

There have been stoner comics in the past. The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers came out at the end of the 1960’s. It was created by Gilbert Sheldon and the characters were based on hippies from Sa Francisco. It spawned famous catchphrases like, “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”—Freewheelin’ Franklin.

Director Kevin Smith issued a short-lived comic called Bluntman and Chronic published by Oni Press in Oregon. According to Wikipedia, “In the first issue, after encountering several comic book references, Jay and Silent Bob win the lottery and decide to become superheroes. After Bob handles most of the gadget work, the two don the names Bluntman and Chronic.” The comic was featured in the film Chasing Amy.

 

 

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerOctober 4, 2018
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3min10410

The United States largest radio broadcaster is getting into cannabis. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, iHeartMedia Inc. (IHRTQ) has entered into an agreement with High Times Holding Corp. to provide up to $10 million in advertising inventory in exchange for a five percent stake in High Times.

Under the agreement, High Times will have access to iHeartMedia’s creative services, as well as its digital and radio advertising inventory. High Times will use this access to advertise for the company’s Regulation A+ offering. The company is offering up to 4,545,454 shares of Class A common stock with an offering price of $11.00 per share. With a goal of $50 million, High Times so far has raised $12.5 million from more than 9,000 investors.

With approximately 855 radio stations and more than 110 million listeners every week, iHeartMedia is by far one of the largest radio broadcasters in the United States. In 2017, iHeartMedia reported $6.17 billion in revenue; which makes the company’s investment in High Times seem somewhat small in comparison.

However, the deal marks a turning point for both the cannabis industry and High Times. When High Times was first launched in 1974, cannabis was illegal in all 50 U.S. states, and the general public had an overwhelmingly negative opinion of the substance.

More than four decades later, the cannabis industry is one of the fastest growing markets in the United States, with corporate giants like Constellation Beverages and iHeartMedia making significant investments within the industry.

In addition to the Regulation A+ Offering, High Times is expected to list its stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market by the end of October or early November. In preparation for the listing the company’s stock on the Nasdaq, High Times has been on an acquisition spree; including Green Rush Daily and Culture Magazine. Most recently, the company acquired Dope Media for $11.2 million.


William SumnerWilliam SumnerOctober 4, 2018
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4min8490

With adult use cannabis sales set to become legal in Canada later this month, the world of cannabis media is starting to heat up. Most recently, High Times announced that it would acquire DOPE Media for $11.2 million and the cannabis lifestyle platform PRØHBTD announced that it secured roughly $12 million in investment. As entrepreneurs and investors alike are looking for ways to corner this emerging market, one cannabis publication hoping to get a piece of this investor action is The Fresh Toast.

Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, The Fresh Toast (TFT) was founded by JJ McKay, a lifelong entrepreneur, and publisher with a background in company building and consumer marketing. Supporting TFT is a team of experienced journalists and executives, including TFT President Eric Snow.

JJ McKay, Founder of Fresh Toast

Billed as a lifestyle website with a side of cannabis, TFT aims to become one of the most trusted voices in the cannabis by appealing to the majority of cannabis users who don’t fall into the stereotypical stoner/counter-culture mindset.

To that end, TFT produces content for the curious and casual cannabis user, with articles ranging from hard cannabis news to everyday pop culture. So far, the strategy seems to be working. The Fresh Toast has 3 identified streams of income with the directory being the primary followed by advertising and data.  Currently, it ranks as the number three trafficked directory site and has emerged as one of the top six digital cannabis websites.

Since launching in 2016, TFT has secured syndication partnerships with 1,800 daily newspapers and regional television stations, inked a syndication deal with Men’s Health Magazine, and became the first cannabis publication to run beer and wine advertisements.

Earlier this year, TFT formed an exclusive media partnership with Skipta, a social network of specialized online medical communities for verified healthcare professionals, to provide information on cannabinoid medicine to over 800,000 medical professionals throughout the United States.

In terms of audience, approximately 1.8 million people visit TFT every month, with roughly a quarter of visitors going to the site daily. Demographically speaking, 45% of site visitors are women, and 75% of all traffic comes from those under the age of 50.

Hoping to build off of their success, TFT is seeking to raise $2.5 million in a Series A Seed Round and is offering 900,000 incentive compensation units, which will be converted into stock options upon the closing of Series A.

Already TFT has attracted several high-profile investors and supporters, including former Seattle Times President, Carolyn Kelly; Dan Nordstrom; former EVP/ President Alaska Air Group, Glenn Johnson; John Hudak, Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution; and even a former U.S. Surgeon General.

Once equity funding is secured, TFT expects to become profitable within a year. The end goal for TFT is a 2021 transition event just as the cannabis market in states like Florida and California start to mature. With fundraising still ongoing, interested investors may contact jj@thefreshtoast.com for more information.

Full Disclosure: Fresh Toast reprints the Marijuana Money weekly video from Green Market Report.


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerOctober 3, 2018
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PRØworks brings new leadership that brings “cannabis from the black market to the supermarket”

PRØHBTD, which markets itself as the “premier online destination for modern cannabis enthusiasts” has just announced a new consulting arm PRØworks, that brings a heap of experience from the mainstream CPG and entertainment worlds to the table.

PRØHBTD has been recognized for producing digital and online content and representing over 60 of the cannabis industry’s most recognizable brands like Defonce.

“Our company’s mission is to bring cannabis from the black market to the supermarket,” said PRØHBTD CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer, “This requires enterprise-ready capabilities that business leaders can engage with to help them understand the complex and challenging world of cannabis”

This new arm of their company brings four notable executives to the consulting team of PRØworks, creating a wrap-around consulting strategy for brands they work with.

Craig Binkley, a veteran of Coca-Cola with a strong portfolio of global work will help companies understand the cannabis consumer, product, and market to inform and support their strategic initiatives. He specializes in transformational marketing that will undoubtedly bring an asset to PRØHBTD clients as they navigate how to reach the modern cannabis consumer among strict marketing regulations.

Leading PRØHBTD’s finance team and strategic mergers and acquisitions initiatives are Frank Carrère, former SVP of corporate development at 21st Century Fox and CFO/COO at Fun Technologies. His experience in scaling businesses has contributed to a 20x exit for its investors through a Canadian public listing and is motivated to bring this to PRØHBTD.

Glenn Frese is working with PRØHBTD to help brands build digital and physical marketing programs to connect cannabis brands to global audiences. He brings experience as a former executive at Sony, Maker Studios, and Disney where he has overseen digital and traditional marketing, social media, and direct to consumer initiatives. Frese will oversee all aspects of consumer and B2B marketing, social media, content marketing, events, strategy and lead generation for PRØHBTD and its PRØworks clients.

Stepping into the role of Executive Producer at PRØHBTD is Gary Bryman, who will produce on-demand videos through the PRØworks division called RØCKET. He brings over 20 years of Hollywood production experience, successfully executing of creative content including content for Disney, Universal, MTV, ABC, NBC, Netflix, and ads for Super Bowl XXXVII.

In June, PRØHBTD announced plans to go public in Canada after raising $12 million through fundraising, following acquiring seed funding totaling $4 million. The company planned to invest their funds into content creation and staffing, which includes this new announcement of hiring these notable executives to represent PRØworks and the PRØHBTD brand.

“We are honored to have these fantastic new folks join us in our journey as we continue to accelerate the mainstreaming of cannabis through audience, content, and products,” says Sutton-Shearer.

Content from PRØHBTD is syndicated across 15 different networks, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, Android TV, Dailymotion, allowing cannabis brands to reach 100 million consumers.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtSeptember 25, 2018
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7min21520

Longtime cannabis publication High Times has acquired print magazine Dope Media in a deal valued at $11.2 million. The deal is a combination of stock and cash. High Times has been building a portfolio of cannabis titles including Green Rush Daily and Culture.

“DOPE is a very strategic acquisition for our portfolio offering key complementary assets to our existing platforms and opening the opportunity for economies of scale to improve the performance of all our entire publication group,” said Adam Levin, CEO of High Times. The statement also noted that Dope holds its largest Dope Cup events in Seattle and Portland and the company sees this as an additive event to the existing Cannabis Cup events where High Times earns a majority of its revenue.

High Times said that there would be no staff changes at this time. DOPE’s CEO, George Jage, founders Dave Tran, James Zachondi, and Evan Carter will all remain. Jage, was once the President of Marijuana Business Daily and the driving force behind Marijuana Business Conference [MJBizCon], has received numerous distinctions for his work including the Nevada Entrepreneur of the Year award from In Business Magazine, Jerry Valen Award of Distinction “Hospitality & Convention Executive of the Year” and most recently was on the cover of Trade Show Executive in May 2017 following receiving the award for the Fastest Growing Tradeshow in the U.S. for two consecutive years.

“This is the perfect marriage of two like-minded businesses. As the largest cannabis consumer media company, High Times offers immense visibility across the country, and globe, like no one else in the space,” said George Jage, CEO of DOPE Magazine. “Utilizing their expertise we will be able to rapidly expand our footprint across the country and offer state-specific advertising solutions at a speed that wouldn’t have been possible before.”

Scott McGovern, the founder of Green Rush Daily was named Executive Vice President at High Times when his company was acquired. However, McGovern is already out of the company and only worked at High Times for about a year. He is now the Co-founder of a blockchain news site call Blockler.

Crowdfunding

Just a week ago High Times said that it had received subscriptions and funds in excess of $5,000,000 from investors which enabled it to complete the $5 million financial milestone in its proposed maximum $50.0 million Regulation A+ offering of up to 4,545,454 shares of Class A common stock at an offering price of $11.00 per share.  High Times also decided to extend its deadline for investing in the company to October 31, 2018.

Levin said the company had received support and purchases from over 6,000 investors. With 6,000 investors only bringing in $5 million, many of these investors must be on the small side. The company did not provide clarification on the average amount invested.

High Times never did close on its deal with Origo Capital. If you’ll recall, Origo Acquisition Corp. (OACQ) filed to change its name to High Times Media on December 29, 2017, and convert from a Cayman Islands company to a Nevada corporation and change its symbol. Origo merged with High Times Holding Corp., the publisher of High Times Magazine in July of 2017. Following the merger, the company has applied to be listed on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol HITM. Its been months since the two companies announced a merger, but it has yet to close. The deal deadline continues to be extended. Levin has said it could still happen.

Leafly Ousts CEO

Separately GeekWire reported that cannabis review website Leafly ousted its CEO Chris Jeffrey, who wasn’t even in the position for a year. Privateer Holdings that owns Leafly issued this statement to Geekwire,

“This morning the Board of Directors of Leafly removed Chris Jeffrey from his role as Chief Executive Officer. The Board made the decision to replace Mr. Jeffrey as CEO after careful consideration due to concerns about his management of the company. The Board has full confidence in Leafly’s senior leadership team and has initiated a search for a new CEO. Out of respect for CJ and the contributions he has made to Leafly, we are not going to go into detail about the circumstances surrounding his departure.

Leafly is experiencing rapid growth with more than 150 employees on the ground in 5 countries and 7 states. The health of Leafly’s business and the strength of the company’s team are stronger than ever before. Leafy has positive momentum and we have never been more excited about the global growth prospects in front of the company.”

Leafly has been receiving a lot of attention as its fellow Privateer company Tilray (TLRY) has taken the cannabis stock market by storm. Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azur has said she believes that Tilray’s access to Leafly’s data will help the company stay on top of consumer trends.

Leafly hasn’t been able to deliver as big of a footprint as its competitor WeedMaps, but then Leafly has chosen to not work with unlicensed operators. Jeffery cut back on headcount when he came to the company and boosted engineers to improve the company’s technology.



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