Hightimes Holdings Corp., owner of the storied High Times magazine, has announcedthe acquisition of 13 cannabis dispensaries in California, marking a turning point for the organization from one that trades in cannabis culture to one that deals the product itself.

In a statement, Hightimes Holding said that the company had reached an agreement to purchase “certain equity and assets with respect to 13 planned and operational California dispensaries from Harvest Health & Recreation Inc.”

The move comes only a month after another announcement from Hightimes Holdings, that it had acquiredthe holding company Humboldt Heritage Inc., as well as its cannabis cultivation subsidiaries Humboldt Sun Growers Guild and Grateful Eight LLC.

In other words, Hightimes will now own a vertically integrated supply chain of growing and retail in California, one of the biggest cannabis markets in the world. This obviously causes potential conflicts of interest.

For instance, the announcement did not make clear whether cannabis products made and sold by Hightimes Holdings will be eligible for entry in the High Times Cannabis Cups, which comprise some of the largest and influential cannabis competitions in the world.

Journalistic objectivity in High Times magazine does not seem to be a major priority for the company. In reporting upon Hightimes’s purchase of 13 dispensaries, the publication reported, “High Times is already one of the biggest names in cannabis. Now it’s about to become one of the biggest cannabis retailers in California.”

Capitalizing on the High Times brand to expand into cannabis retail is very in character of the relatively new company Hightimes Holdings. High Times magazine had the same owners from 1974 to 2017, when it was bought outby the investment firm Overa Capital.

At the time, Executive Chairman Adam Levin said, “We are going to build on the strong base they created to bring HIGH TIMES from the authority in the counterculture movement to a modern media enterprise. It has great brand equity and a solid audience base. But I think most would agree it was not executing business at max potential under the legacy framework established by the founders.”

Since then, the company’s activities have included bunglingits stock IPO and warning investors last year that it may have to shutter completelydue to “recurring operating losses, net operating cash flow deficits, and an accumulated deficit.”

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