Get In On The Ground Floor: High Times Magazine Is Starting A Private Equity Fund

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The magazine, High Times, has survived as an icon of dope culture, and Kennedy, a criminal defense lawyer, has improbably ended up as its controlling owner. Now, with marijuana legal in some form in 22 states, the counterculture institution is aiming to raise $300 million for the High Times Growth Fund, which will make private equity investments in the marijuana business...The Cannabis Cup and the increased interest in legal marijuana have helped the magazine’s Web traffic soar from 300,000 unique readers a month to 5 million, while advertising has doubled, Kennedy says. The magazine is profitable, he adds, while declining to disclose circulation figures. “Hundreds and hundreds” of phone calls and e-mails began pouring in, Kennedy says, from entrepreneurs in need of funds and investors wondering where to put their money, prompting three people on the business side of the magazine to pitch Kennedy on starting a private equity fund. His first reaction: terrible idea. “My fear was the sharks would take us over,” he laughs. “I’d be working for Blankenfein, or whatever the hell his name is, in a matter of weeks.” Kennedy quickly changed his mind and began to see an investment fund as an extension of the magazine’s founding mission. [BusinessWeek]

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