DENVER, CO – APRIL 20: Matt Knorr, 30, of Rochester, New York, checks out the display of High Times … [+]
Denver Post via Getty Images
The company behind the nation’s most iconic cannabis brand may consider shutting down High Times and other industry outlets — perhaps pivoting to distribution instead — while cannabis media continues to struggle, despite the plant’s soaring popularity. The brand also has its second new CEO in less than a year.
As the New York Post’s Keith J. Kelly reported this week, High Times’ parent company said in an SEC filing Monday that Stormy Simon, former president of online retailer Overstock, will replace Kraig Fox as CEO, following the former TV executive and short-term High Times boss’ resignation on Christmas Eve.
“Like millions of other people, I have trusted High Times for years and I can’t wait to use my experience to develop the next iteration of our business: delivering the best products into consumer’s hands,” Simon said in a statement.
According to late-2019 SEC filings by Hightimes Holding, which purchased the 45-year-old cannabis publication in 2017, the company also has “substantial doubt about the [its] ability to continue as a going concern” a year from now, due to “recurring operating losses, net operating cash flow deficits, and an accumulated deficit.”
In recent years, the High Times magazine and website have faced increasing competition from newer cannabis publications, some of which Hightimes Holding Corp. also acquired for its growing media stable, and from more mainstream outlets’ cannabis coverage.
New York-based cannabis attorney David Holland, who was of council to High Times between 2004 and 2014, commented by phone in November, “It’s a sad day to see an iconic brand go through these troubles in what’s becoming an antiquated industry in the digital age.”
According to some industry insiders, aspects of High Times’ ongoing transition and challenges are unfortunate but not surprising, given its leadership changes in recent years.
Many other, newer cannabis media companies have also struggled in recent months and years over funding, legal issues, leadership, or other operational woes; late last year, Civilized announced editorial staff layoffs ahead of its acquisition by New Frontier Data.