Article by , CBC News
“What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s happening,” goes the ’70s rock anthem.
Part of the catchiness of the lyric — from the rock musical Jesus Christ Superstar — was that in that era the term “buzz” had developed a second spicy meaning.
It described the high that people got from smoking cannabis.
In the 1970s, the magazine High Times was a brand new title keeping an eye on the illegal but growing business of marijuana pricing and sales. It ran centrefolds of glistening pot plants and of an apartment filled to the windows with what the magazine insisted was an entire ton of cannabis.
Now some of Canada’s most staid media voices are looking for ways to go toe to toe with High Times and its U.S. competitors, hoping to profit from Canada’s global head start in legal recreational cannabis. But when it comes to making a killing from spreading the buzz on the cannabis biz, to quote another ’70s rock anthem, It ain’t easy.
Just because of its age and staying power, one of the titles to beat is High Times, currently trying to raise money through an initial public stock offering. Claiming a market capitalization of more than $200 million US, the magazine is itself becoming a story for its upstart competitors as it appeals directly to the public to try to find investors.
So far, the magazine has failed to meet its money-raising target, well below the roughly $17 million US it will need to get a listing on New York’s Nasdaq stock exchange. As of last month, the Los Angeles-based media company had commitments for about a tenth of its ultimate target of $50 million US in new shareholder investment, and it has already extended its deadline for people to take a piece of the action.