Business Insider looks into fall of ????lifestyle media company Civilized, which aspired to be, “High Times for the upwardly mobile professional,” but has effectively stopped publishing.

  • Civilized raised $7M from Canopy Growth venture arm Canopy Rivers and celebrities like Chelsea Handler.
  • A former employee said the company became more of a public-relations shop than a media company.
  • Some former employees and freelancers say they haven’t been paid.
  • Terri Riedle, who built the company along with her husband, former CEO Derek Riedle, said the cannabis and media business climates have been “unbelievably challenging, to say the least.” The company says it is “almost ready” to relaunch.
  • The story is the first to report on the collapse of a planned acquisition by New Frontier Data.
  • Civilized was desperate to placate advertisers, “who were paying us to write good news,” a former employee said. On LinkedIn, I wrote, “[At WeedWeek] Our business depends on publishing material that will fascinate, inform and delight our readers. Content designed to please advertisers strikes me as the opposite of that.”

Related: Columbia Journalism Review discusses the state of High Times:

“In many ways, the High Times story is also a media-industry story: The decline of print advertising. The shift to digital. The decline in the value of digital ads.”