High Times CEO found to have donated to anti-LGBTQ politicians, responds to claims

By Cara Anderson | @carajojo

High Times leadership, who acquired two LGBTQ publications in 2017, were found to have donated to numerous anti-LGBTQ politicians.

The two LGBTQ publications, Out Magazine and The Advocate, were formally under the umbrella of Here Media. Here was acquired by Oreva Capital and rebranded to PRIDE Media Co. Adam Levin, the CEO of High Times, is the owner of Oreva Capital. Maxx Abramowitz, Levin’s stepbrother, is a principal investor at Oreva Capital.

High Times Holdings has acquired a number of cannabis publications this year as well, including Green Rush Daily, CULTURE Magazine, and DOPE magazine (for a reported $11.2 million.)

According to WWD, “Levin has donated to a number of Republicans including Devin Nunes, Dean Heller and Josh Mandel (all of whom have publicly taken anti-LGTBQ stances, like supporting religion-based discrimination), and Dana Rohrabacher (who recently said gay people can be denied the right to buy a home and has consistently opposed legal advancements for the LGTBQ community) was praised on this year’s High Times’ list of cannabis supporters.”

High Times CEO Adam Levin, via cannabisradio.com.

High Times, which was acquired by Levin in 2017, has been a powerful voice in the cannabis community for 44 years. With cannabis on the tipping point of federal legalization in the US, and transgender rights being increasingly threatened by the current presidential administration, WWD’s discovery is worth consideration.

“We are looking for brands that have strong emotional ties with a community,” Levin told Reuters. “We think there is a unique opportunity in niche media brands that are undervalued and have further ways to monetize the intellectual property.

Broccoli Mag, a women’s cannabis magazine, posted a screenshot of the Georgia Voice’s coverage of the events to their Instagram story, adding, “If we want the cannabis industry to be better, to be inclusive, to make change, then actions like this need to be considered absolutely unacceptable.”

EDIT: A representative of High Times, Jon Cappetta, responded to Candid Chronicle’s inquiry about WWD’s findings. Capetta described Levin as a cannabis consumer that grew up on High Times and a “staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community… the furthest thing from anti-LGBQT.”

It’s one thing to say that you are in support of the LGBTQ community, but where you put your dollars speaks volumes. High Times says that none of Levin’s donations were made because of the politicians’ stances on LGBTQ issues.

HT claims that Levin’s donations to Congressman Dana Rohrbacher were in relation to Rohrbacher’s position on cannabis. In 2014, the Rohrabacher–Farr amendment was passed, prohibiting the Justice Department from spending funds to interfere with state-implemented medical cannabis legislation. Since then, however, Congressman Rohrbacher has made anti-LGBTQ statements. In May 2018, Rohrbacher refused to support the inclusion of federal LGBTQ protections to the Fair Housing Act.

High Times and Adam Levin have allegedly removed support from any politicians who have made anti-LGBTQ statements, though it is unclear when they withdrew support. According to Cappetta, Levin has made donations to politicians with pro-LGBTQ agendas and campaigned for Democrats as well.

“If you’re asking if we will ever make any donations to any politician with an anti-LGBT stance again, the answer is, ‘Fuck no.’” – Adam Levin, High Times CEO

High Times says that they and Adam Levin will be more thoroughly researching the positions that politicians take on issues like LGBTQ rights and equality before placing donations. 

Edit: Read Adam Levin’s Letter to the Editor of WWD here. 

Edit: High Times responded to Candid Chronicle; their account and a quote from Adam Levin have been added. Maxx Abromowitz was initially described as the lead investor of High Times, his description has been changed.

Featured image via weedguide.com.