High Times magazine’s foray into cannabis dispensaries has been fraught with troubles, and a judge just ruled they have to pay up the $5 million in back rent they’ve racked up on the former John Varvatos space in Union Square.
SFist smelled something funny back in April 2020, when High Times magazine announced they were buying up 13 California cannabis dispensaries, including one in San Francisco, in a deal supposedly valued at $80 million. Parent company Hightimes Holding Corp.’ executive chairman Adam Levin bragged to Bloomberg at the time, “We will literally be next to a Chanel store.”
That tipped SFist off that he was referring to Union Square’s former John Varvatos space, a proposed Have a Heart dispensary that Chanel had actually battled, before both sides came to a “private agreement,” as we reported in February 2020.
The whole thing smelled skunky to us, because High Times was proposing to pay this $80 million primarily in Hightimes stock — stock which did not even exist. Hightimes stock was supposed to IPO on the NASDAQ index, but they couldn’t pull that together, so in January 2020 settled for a penny-stock index called OTCQX, soliciting money from longtime readers and small investors.