By now, Americans have become accustomed to seeing marijuana news on mainstream and financial media. However, few reporters and journalists covering the industry are actually specialized, thus treating cannabis as a novelty act, a passing fad, or an alternative investment strategy, at the most. Consequently, most articles quote the same stats, figures, forecasts and projections over and over again. Even worse, almost every piece seems to recur to oh-so-tired puns about blooming, budding, the color green, growing like weeds ... You get it: They are no longer funny.
On the other hand, there are dedicated media outlets. At the forefront of this bunch are the following three:
- High Times, often dubbed “the The Coca-Cola Co KO of cannabis,” which is set to start trading on the Nasdaq in October with a $250 million valuation through a reverse merger with Origo Acquisition Corporation OACQ.
- The more serious Leafly, focused on dispensary and products reviews.
- And HERB, the undisputed social media king, generating engagement levels comparable to those of Vice and Buzzfeed.
However, up until this point, there was one thing is missing in this landscape: a financial media outlet focused on cannabis, an emerging market with the potential to surpass $50 billion in sales over the next decade.
Well, this might no longer be the case with the debut of Green Market Report, a site focused on the cannabis industry’s top financial news. “Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry,” the company said.
Interested in learning more about the site, Benzinga reached out to co-founders Cynthia Salarizadeh, an expert on cannabis PR and marketing, and Debra Borchardt, one of the most recognized names in marijuana reporting, best known for her work for Forbes.
Green Market Report, or GMR for short, made its official online debut on Sept. 13. As stated above, the site will have a strong focus on financial, business and economic issues affecting the emerging cannabis industry. This means readers won’t come across any science, politics or policy news on this site, unless they impact the marijuana business directly.
In addition to news, GMR users will find a suite of open-source data and analytics collected from the industry's most credible sources including New Cannabis Ventures, Cannabis Benchmarks, Arcview Market Research, GreenWave Advisors, Headset, Consumer Research Around Cannabis, and Viridian Capital Advisors, to name a few.
“Debra and I would always talk about how we constantly saw all these headlines about cannabis that were just nonsense, based on data that couldn’t be confirmed, getting attention they truly didn’t deserve,” co-founder and chief strategy officer Cynthia Salarizadeh told Benzinga. “But, more importantly, we saw a bunch of different websites and publications pop up, and they were completely biased; you could just purchase your news there and nobody knew the difference on the other end.
“We thought this was unfair ... There was little journalistic integrity left out there. So, we decided we wanted to do it ourselves, with integrity ... We are never going to sell our stories, we are never going to profit off what we write.”
“I wanted to give investors and cannabis industry insiders a true news website for business stories about the industry. One where they wouldn't have to sift through stock tips or investment promotions to read the key stories of the day,” co-founder and CEO Debra Borchardt added. “I also wanted to make sure our readers got original content and that, if they were reading a story, it wasn't paid for by the company that was the subject of the story.”
“This is the biggest business story of the decade. It's like the early days of the dot.com era and it's exciting to be at the forefront, telling all these stories,” she said. “The industry has a great entrepreneurial spirit and I love covering this beat.”
So far, GMR has been self-funded; Borchardt and Salarizadeh wanted to build the site and prove they could grow organically before raising any capital, they told Benzinga. However, they suggested investors keep an eye open for a raise of $1.5 million to $2.5 million within the next six months.
Revenue will derive from advertising on the site and newsletters, as well as events. Nonetheless, Salarizadeh emphasized, the company will remain focused on maintaining its journalistic integrity, only profiting from things that do not impact its news coverage.
“Debra wants to be the CNBC of cannabis; I want to be the Dow Jones of marijuana. I think we can be both,” Salarizadeh concluded.
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