With legalization coming, Toronto startup aims to blaze a trail in cannabis
With recreational marijuana legal in eight U.S. states and legalization only a year away in Canada, a Toronto-based startup has its sights set on dominating the global cannabis media market and becoming the central marketplace for buying weed online. However, the lack of legal clarity around marijuana advertising and online sales means the company’s business model isn’t a sure thing.
HERB, an online publication focused on cannabis culture, has expanded rapidly over the past two years. Since being acquired and rebranded in 2015 by Toronto entrepreneur Matt Gray, the website has grown from 100,000 unique monthly visitors to more than five million. HERB’s videos – which range from industry news to segments on how to roll the perfect joint – are viewed around 250 million times a month, according to the company, and its social media following rivals established online media outlets such as HuffPost and Vice.
At only 27 years old, Mr. Gray, co-founder and former chief executive of coding academy Bitmaker, has already seen success in the startup world, having sold Bitmaker to U.S. education company General Assembly. Since completing a round of fundraising in March, HERB has doubled its staff to 15 full-time employees and around 15 contract workers. Full story
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