Civilized aims to elevate the conversation over cannabis

"Cigar Aficionado meets Huffington Post meets cannabis" is how Saint John entrepreneur Derek Riedle describes Civilized — a new online publication devoted to cannabis culture in North America.

Civilized, a new online platform, is devoted to cannabis culture in North America

The staff at Civilized on launch day. The online publication has created 14 jobs in Saint John. (Twitter)

A Saint John entrepreneur is rolling out a new online publication devoted to cannabis culture in North America.

Derek Riedle, the founder and publisher of the online publication, described Civilized as "Cigar Aficionado meets Huffington Post meets cannabis."

The lifestyle site, which launched on Tuesday, brands itself as a digital platform for professionals, who enjoy marijuana, along with travel, business, pop culture and science.

"Civilized aims to elevate the conversation about cannabis," Riedle said Wednesday on Information Morning Saint John.

"The reality is there are millions of productive, motivated people out there who choose to enjoy cannabis recreationally, whether it's to relax with friends and be social, whether it's to be more creative or whether it's to unwind after a stressful day."

But Riedle said that diversity in interest is not reflected in the media coverage of cannabis culture.

"When you look around at current cannabis culture, they're not reflected that way, so we're looking to have an elevated conversation around it," he said.

The startup, with its head office located in Saint John, has already hired a staff of 14 and intends to expand to Los Angeles.

Riedle and his wife, Terri, moved there a year ago to pursue other opportunities. While there, they noticed rising trends in digital publishing and the cannabis industry.

"The cannabis industry, it's the fastest growing industry in the U.S., so the opportunities in there are pretty incredible," he said.

"So when the idea came to fuse the two of them, it was frankly irresistible for us as entrepreneurs … We're of the contention that this is a market place and a demographic that exists, we are simply casting a light on it."

Fifteen investors have helped fund the new company. Riedle said they are also reaching out to clients in major centres, such as New York and Los Angeles.

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