Ricardo Baca Sends Letter of Intent to Denver Post to Purchase the Cannabist
At the end of April when the sad news broke that The Cannabist had eliminated all editorial posts, its founder and original editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca tweeted that he was “ruined by this week's news about The Cannabist. This wasn't how it was supposed to end.” Then he went on to suggest he just might take it over himself.
Today, Baca made it official: “I made it official one hour ago, when I sent The Denver Post an official letter of intent. My offer to purchase The Cannabist is reasonable, and I look forward to hearing back from the newspaper's leadership.”
Shortly after Colorado became the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, in 2013 The Denver Post started a first-of-its-kind marijuana news vertical with experienced journalists to cover a beat that had been largely marginalized by mainstream press.
In an interview with Leafly, Baca didn’t reveal the value of the offer. He said that he’s garnered interest from investors both inside and outside the cannabis industry, and is in “a couple other conversations with traditional media outlets that sound very excited.”
“Right now I’m contemplating what might be best to guarantee a legitimate and successful future for The Cannabist,” said Baca, a 15-year veteran of the The Denver Post who left the paper in December 2016 to launch his own cannabis communications agency, Grasslands.
“No matter who owns this, it needs to be an independent source of journalism that holds all sides accountable.”
Baca clarified that it would “probably be me personally” buying The Cannabist as opposed to his PR firm as the original press release suggested.
“All I care is that The Cannabist doesn’t die,” he told Leafly. “I can’t handle a world that doesn’t have a Cannabist.”
Why did The Cannabist go under?
It was not for lack of readership. In less than two years under Baca’s leadership, The Cannabist had more unique visitors than High Times’ website, noted the Denver Post in October 2016.
Ricardo Baca places the blame for the cuts on the shoulders of Alden Global Capital, which he called a “vulture capital” hedge fund that owns Digital First Media and 100 American newspapers, including The Denver Post.
“What’s being done is a complete injustice to democracy and the Fourth Estate,” said Baca.