High Times heading to California

High Times magazine has announced plans to leave New York City – where it has called home since its 1974 debut – for Los Angeles by the end of April, according to Crain’s New York Business.

The move comes on the heels of the California’s longstanding lackadaisical medical marijuana laws dating back to the nineties that sparked a pseudo-legal cannabis industry. The pot biz is expected to explode next year when a recently passed referendum allowing adult recreational use kicks in.

“The center of the cannabis universe has moved to California,” said the magazine’s chief revenue officer Matt Stang. “New York used to be a liberal bastion.”

High Times employs about 30 people at its Manhattan office, but it’s unknown how many of them will move to L.A., where the magazine also plans to hire local staff.

While magazines and other print media outlets have struggled in the digital age, High Times is reportedly in growth mode. It won’t reveal revenue or circulation numbers, but Stang said subscriptions have doubled in the past 18 months while its print and online advertising and events business have seen “exponential growth” in the past five years. High Times has also increased its average hard copy page count from 112 pages several years ago to 160 pages today.

Last summer, High Times also signed with United Talent Agency to develop TV shows and movies.

“California is the incubation space where all of these new brands will build themselves up to become national and international players in the space,” Stang said. “It’s where High Times needs to be as the cannabis movement goes forward.”

High Times has long been a major player in the North American cannabis community. Although it was first published as a joke, a single-issue parody of Playboy substituting pot for sex, but the magazine immediately found an audience. Past contributors include the iconic likes of Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Truman Capote, Hunter S. Thompson and Andy Warhol.