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LOS ANGELES — Put this in your pipe and smoke it.
An investment group that includes legendary ganga guru Bob Marley's son has bought a controlling interest in High Times, the magazine that for decades has separated the stems and seeds from the leaves when it comes to showing people the best ways to grow, roll and consume the finest blends of marijuana.
Damian "Junior Gong" Marley is one of 20 investors who announced Thursday they have acquired 60 percent interest in Trans-High Corp., owner of High Times, its digital platforms and its popular Cannabis Cup trade shows.
THC (the acronym is the same as that of marijuana's key ingredient) will be renamed High Times Holding Co.
"It's an exciting day," said Adam Levin, the company's new CEO. "We have really the largest brand in cannabis, really the trusted brand, that we've been able to acquire at a time when obviously legalization trends are burgeoning and the industry as a whole is exploding."
The purchase price wasn't revealed but Levin, whose Los Angeles-based investment firm, Oreva Capital, put the deal together, said the company is valued at $70 million.
"We're the Wine Aficionado of the cannabis industry"
With marijuana legal in some form in 26 states and the District of Columbia, Levin and his partners believe it's the perfect time to acquire the company with a mainstream brand name and a colorful reputation.
While many magazines have struggled in recent years, High Times says it has retained a loyal print subscriber base of more than 200,000 with millions more following it online.
"We're the Wine Aficionado of the cannabis industry," he said, referring to the popular wine magazine.
The magazine was founded in 1974 by Tom Forcade with seed money he'd made from selling drugs. In the early years High Times was often sold in the same plastic bags newsstands used to shield the covers of porn magazines.
After Forcade killed himself in 1978, The New York Times reported that staffers carried his cremated ashes to the top of New York's World Trade Center and smoked them.