Dope, which has built a large readership among younger cannabis users, has been acquired by High Times, the grand-daddy of weed magazines.
Dope, a Seattle-based magazine that has become the face of a newer, more polished — and legal — cannabis industry, has been purchased by High Times, a venerable outlet long associated with the industry’s early, illicit years.
The cash and stock deal, valued at $11.2 million dollars, is slated to close Wednesday. It’s the latest in a recent series of acquisitions by High Times, a 44-year-old monthly magazine originally published in New York City that has chronicled the rise of cannabis culture in the United States and internationally.
“I always looked up to [High Times], when we first started Dope Magazine, as a leader and as someone who really pioneered in this industry,” said David Tran, Dope Magazine’s co-founder and chief brand officer, who will continue in his role in the new organization.
Wednesday’s deal reflects the larger trend toward consolidation in the legal cannabis industry as producers, processors, retailers and other players grapple with a rapidly expanding marketplace that increasingly favors large-scale operations with low cost structures and mass customer bases.
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Dope Magazine, founded in 2011, is distributed through a network of 1,500 cannabis retailers, and has a widespread social media presence, with 481,000 followers and more than half a million monthly visits to its website, dopemagazine.com. The magazine reported gross revenues of $4.7 million in 2017, said CEO George Jage.
The acquisition brings together two companies that, while often rivals, actually complement one another in strategic ways. Where High Times has catered more to older cannabis users — many of whom came of age when cannabis was illegal — Dope readers are younger and are part of a cultural movement that sees legal cannabis as the norm, said Jage.
As important, where High Times has a strong national and even international market presence, Dope Magazine has worked to develop coverage and advertising targeted to specific state markets, often with a focus on locally produced artisan products.
“If a dispensary is looking to advertise locally and looking for a print or digital solution, Dope [Magazine] has traditionally provided that service—maybe even better than High Times,” said Adam Levin, CEO of High Times.
Correction: The original version of this story, published Sept. 25, 2018, was corrected the next day. The original gave an incorrect 2017 gross revenue number for Dope Magazine.