The Marijuana-Fueled Return of Dan Gross

The former Daily News gossip columnist has high aspirations.

Photo by Jamie Leary.

Photo by Jamie Leary.

It has been more than three years since former Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross made his very public exit from the paper, where he had been dishing dirt on the likes of Alycia Lane, Allen Iverson, and Michael Nutter for a decade. Since then, he’s quietly been running his own one-man public relations company, but now he’s ready to make his foray back into journalism, although this time, instead of divorces and TV news rumors, he’ll be writing about dabbing, edibles, and Sour Diesel.

Gross, 37, is set to launch Elevated Nation, a news and culture website all about marijuana.

“I had been looking for a way to get back into writing,” Gross told us from his East Falls home, where he was preparing to put his kindergartener to bed. “Essentially, what I’m trying to do is cover the largest growing industry in the United States. It’s such a fluid area. There’s so much going on.”

Gross isn’t tapping into his Daily News experience for Elevated Nation so much as some of the writing he did way back in high school.

“When I was 16, I started self-publishing a zine called Scenester that later became Deal With It,” says Gross. “Both of them had good readership, solid advertising, and they were free but still generated revenue. Well, websites are the new zines. The model has changed, but the goal of creating something that people want to read hasn’t.”

While the new site might include a review of a new vaporizer or a DIY guide to making medicated butter candies, Gross says he’s most interested in legislative issues, trend stories, and the ever growing field of so-called cannabusinesses.

In other words, don’t expect to see Elevated Nation filled with videos of Gross getting high in his office. Actually, we asked him to pose with a lit joint or a big pile of bud for this article, and he declined.

“This isn’t a Cheech and Chong kind of thing,” Gross insists. “There’s a way to talk about marijuana that isn’t infantilizing or pejorative.”

What you will see in the early days of Elevated Nation is an interview with Philly hip-hop legend Schoolly D (he’ll claim to be the first person to ever rap about marijuana), a legal advice column, and contributions from local weed crusader N.A. Poe and Lindy Snider, daughter of the late Flyers owner. Snider is already involved in cannabusiness, and Gross describes her as a “strategic advisor” for Elevated Nation.

“My goal is to have a national audience,” says Gross. “However, being in Philly myself and having other contributors in the area, I imagine most of the original reporting will be from Pennsylvania to start.”

But not everything on Elevated Nation will be directly focused on marijuana, admits Gross.

“There will also be arts and entertainment coverage,” he explains. “Music, television, and things like that relating to audiences who would be stereotypically predisposed to enjoy marijuana. Maybe horror movie reviews. It will be trial and error.”

Elevated Nation’s launch date is Monday, September 26th.

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