If weed is now on the verge of billions in legal big business, as well as a creative tool of choice for some of Hollywood’s most productive and popular stars, then Rick Bakas is hoping the drug is ready for its own mainstream media.
Bakas has launched Weedhorn, a media startup “sophisticated weed enthusiasts” will be able to safely read at work. While most marijuana media typically skews low brow, the new site has teamed with social publishing platform RebelMouse to target professionals who may want to read about weed issues without Bongzilla banner ads popping up all over their screen.
“High Times is the big daddy that has existed for 40 years bringing news to marijuana lovers,” says Bakas. “But many of the existing media properties have been in the shadows of society unable to cross over the line to mainstream. We feel they are well rooted in that subculture space whereas we are starting from day one as a mainstream property. By targeting young professionals, moms, and educated folks, we are serving an audience that High Times doesn’t connect with.”
RebelMouse’s head of product operations Jarrod Dicker says the site will cover weed from a variety of angles. “The content will be a mix of articles about the legalization effort and video/meme/listicle-type content intended to be more social and shareable,” says Dicker. “This is best illustrated by looking at their Facebook page, with links to The Guardian and HuffPo about legislation, as well as funny memes and videos.”
On launch day (4/20, duh), the homepage includes articles on Bill Maher’s petition to make April 20th an official holiday, hemp dog biscuits, and the state of Georgia’s path to legalizing marijuana.
The site aims to attract the business of weed-centric apps and services looking to break news and advertise. Bakas says his goal is to host native ads from mainstream brands to keep the look of the site clean. “I think we would be the first to do that if we can pull it off,” says Bakas. “That means our content will probably be 80% marijuana related, but we’ll also have cross-over content related to culture such as food and travel so we can engage a bigger audience.”