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The ‘Stoner’s Cookbook’ Website AKA HERB raises $4.1M

The Stoner's Cookbook Website AKA HERB raises $4.1M-hero

Business

The ‘Stoner’s Cookbook’ Website AKA HERB raises $4.1M

HERB, a website about cannabis culture that you are currently not reading right now, just scored millions in seed money thanks to some big-time investors. But is it because HERB is actually good, or because of the Green Rush in general?

HERB, a cannabis lifestyle website that isn’t nearly as good as the one you’re currently surfing, has raised $4.1 million in seed funding from investors. (And yes, pun intended.)

While it’s no secret that the Green Rush—AKA the recent outpouring of revenue from and into the cannabis industry by and large—is hardly a new phenomenon, it seems that mainstream outlets are just now picking up on the trend, even if entities like HERB’s investors (among them Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Liquid 2 Ventures, the latter founded by former pro-football legend Joe Montana). But why HERB? And why now?

HERB Raises $4.1 Million From Investors…But Why?

The 'Stoner's Cookbook' Website AKA HERB raises $4.1M

The main reason? According to some of HERB’s backers, it’s sheer profitability and know-how.

“During our research into the cannabis industry, it became clear to both myself and our team at Liquid 2 Ventures that HERB was the most professionally run business for relevant, informative, cannabis content,” said Montana about his decision to back HERB, a site run by Matt Gray, the Toronto-based entrepreneur who became CEO of the website after purchasing and rebranding it in 2015 from the ‘Stoners Cookbook.’

As reported by TechCrunch, the Website-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named (in this sentence at any rate) has garnered 5.3 million unique viewers and 200 million video views per month to date, admittedly a positive departure from its web traffic pre-Gray.

So what’s responsible for the uptick—or, better yet, the sudden interest of venture capitalists and financiers?

The answer is simple: the legitimization of the cannabis industry, due in part to legalization on a state-by-state basis. Now that cannabis industry-related or industry-adjacent shares can be traded on the open market, entrepreneurs are getting in on the ground floor of the Green Rush. Considering that business moguls like Peter Thiel and companies like Facebook and SpaceX are buying and investing into it speaks volumes. Big investors are pouring millions into weed, so it only makes sense that funding for sites that report about weed culture is also reaping benefits.

Final Hit: HERB Scores Some Cash. Okay.

But hey, why listen to a well-written, factually-based diatribe about it if Gray has a sound byte?

“There’s a very real stigma that exists around cannabis today and our viewpoint on things here at HERB is that yesterday’s social stigmas become tomorrow’s social norms,” Gray explained to the press. “We’re trying to present the best face that we can for this industry and bring cannabis into the mainstream.”

Gray also compared his site to operations like Uber and Airbnb, purporting that, like them, HERB is more or less a middleman between consumers—you know, readers—and suppliers like wholesalers and retailers. At least, that’s what he envisions for the site in the future, with expanded services like weed delivery in areas where recreational cannabis use has been decriminalized and fully sanctioned by law.

“I think these laws are changing,” said Gray about a movement that everyone knows about.  “It’s about time. And as they change, HERB wants to be right there.”

Then again, there’s a reason why you’re reading this article right now, rather than our dear, darling competitor.

…mic drop.

J.E. Reich

J.E. Reich is a Brooklyn-based GRD staff writer and a former night/weekend editor at Jezebel. Their work has appeared in Slate, the Toast, the Forward, the Huffington Post, and elsewhere.

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