Denver's green rush started a decade ago, as dispensaries started popping up around town. Westword recognized the new industry emerging in its back yard (and back pages), and started covering cannabis with the energy we already devoted to more traditional beats, such as music and politics; we were the first media outlet in the country to hire a marijuana reviewer. Now, through our parent company, we're joining forces with Herban Planet to give consumers and marijuana businesses greater access to a national platform of online pot resources.
Voice Media Group owns and operates Westword, along with other iconic print newspapers and websites, including Phoenix New Times and Miami New Times. VMG also owns the cutting-edge digital advertising agency V Digital Services, which in 2017 posted 40 percent year-over-year growth and was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies in the U.S.
Herban Planet is one of the country's most comprehensive online cannabis guides. With more listings and educational assets than any other web platform, Herban Planet offers a one-stop ecosystem for cannabis producers, business owners, consumers, medical professionals, patients, caregivers and activists. Now that content will be available directly from the Westword website, putting a vast nationwide marijuana database at Denver readers’ fingertips.
Westword publisher and VMG chief executive officer Scott Tobias notes that VMG and Herban Planet are already leaders in providing readers, consumers and businesspeople with information about the cannabis industry. And thanks to its decades of doing business in major markets across the country, VMG brings something else to the mix: hundreds of long-established relationships with business owners, dispensary owners, cultivators and leading figures in the industry. Those carefully nurtured local, regional and national relationships should accelerate growth of Herban Planet’s market share.
V Digital Services has long specialized in helping marijuana businesses maximize its digital footprint through its work with Marijuana Marketing Xperts. As a division of VDS, industry-leading MMX has the advantage of focusing solely on marketing for the marijuana industry and helping business owners in the rapidly growing field devise smart digital strategies designed to increase web and mobile presence, generate leads to expand their customer base, and navigate a maze of legal restrictions and regulations. Equally unique is its programmatic advertising network for cannabis, a pioneering technology specially engineered to engage audiences interested in medical and recreational marijuana.
Combining Herban Planet’s thriving web platform with VMG’s technology, marketing and media muscle is the goal of the new partnership, says Tobias. “Joining with Herban Planet to help grow a national marijuana platform made perfect sense,” he adds. “We are very excited about this partnership.”
Herban Planet founder and chief executive officer Babak Motamedi is also excited about the synergies made possible by the partnership. VDS marketing services will now be available to Herban Planet customers at preferred prices, and the companies will continue to explore additional content-sharing opportunities on their websites.
“People in the industry have a choice between platforms,” says Motamedi. “Now Herban Planet will be powered by a multi-market media company, so obviously we will have broader reach. We think we can really change the industry, both in terms of connectivity and bringing it more mainstream.”