In another sign of marijuana's shift toward corporate respectability, a controlling interest in a magazine founded by an outlaw hippie pot smuggler in 1974 has been bought by a group of cannabis investors. The consortium that bought High Times includes Damian Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley, and the owners of the Denver Relief marijuana shop chain, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Their 60% majority stake cost $42 million, a price that values the magazine at $70 million, TechCrunch reports. The magazine, which started out as a countercultural publication, is now a major part of the emerging legal marijuana industry and holds events like the Cannabis Cup competition.
The acquisition was led by investment firm Oreva Capital whose CEO, Adam Levin, describes the High Times brand as the "Coca-Cola of cannabis." He says buyers have seen the opportunity to shift the magazine "from the authority in the counterculture movement to a modern media enterprise." Frequent cover star Tommy Chong compares the magazine's journey to his own career with Cheech Marin. "We all went through some hard times. We all went through some really good times," he tells the Chronicle. "And now we're faced with the prospect of weed being mainstream."