The company that owns High Times—the magazine which calls itself the “definitive source for all things cannabis”—is the now first to accept cryptocurrencies for their IPO or initial public offering. Marijuana and crypto, which previously existed on the fringe (with varying levels of legality), are quickly becoming part of the establishment. Well, sort of.
The road to a partially crypto-funded IPO hasn’t come without its own difficulties. In the beginning of August, the company, High Times Holding, announced that they would be accepting payments for their IPO in bitcoin and Ethereum—a statement that they had to walk back, just two weeks later. John Cappetta, a spokesperson for High Times, told Coindesk that the SEC raised concerns over the company having assets in a cryptocurrency and how conversion to US dollars would happen.
While High Times is not involved in the growth or distribution of marijuana, it is a part of a wave of companies in the marijuana industry trying to become publicly traded. Two Canadian marijuana distributors achieved that goal in the US, and a Denver-based cannabis social media network submitted an unsuccessful application in 2016 according to Reuters.
Oddly enough, in High Times’ case, the fact that the company is dedicated to covering cannabis wasn’t too much of a problem; it was their acceptance of cryptocurrencies from investors. “On the legal side, it’s a lot of jargon. There’s no real easy way to spell it out,” said Cappetta. But after the hiccup, on High Times’ funding website, there’s now an option to pay with bitcoin, which then gets converted to fiat before High Times receives it. While it’s unclear how many investors have paid with crypto, Cappetta said that the IPO is going well enough that they are considering a direct listing.
High Times’ fundraising efforts end on September 12.