This event is uniting New York cannabis against all odds

revelry buyers' club

The Revelry Buyers’ Club, a cannabis trade show, recently transformed the Hudson Valley into a bustling hub of entrepreneurial activity. Nestled in the picturesque town of Hudson, NY, the event blended rural charm, craft food trucks, a 19th-century reclaimed factory, and lots of cannabis into a B2B experiential event. This was not your typical trade show but more like a reunion of friends, brands, farmers, manufacturers, and retail owners who came together to do business.

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Cultivating relationships from the ground up

Lulu Tsui and Jacobi Holland, the visionary founders of On the Revel (organizers of the Revelry Buyers’ Club), have been instrumental in nurturing the NYC cannabis community since 2015. On The Revel started off with networking events and their signature talks and evolved into a mini-conference and block parties.

When New York State announced the opening of licensing applications, Revelry provided networking events for entrepreneurs to learn and share resources on the complicated process of opening a highly regulated cannabis business. Revelry’s events became even more invaluable to entrepreneurs as the industry rollout took a nosedive due to government mismanagement and was even called “a disaster” by Governor Kathy Hochul. The entrepreneurs still cling to each other for support as the Office of Cannabis Management continues to battle lawsuit over lawsuit because of their missteps, leaving many to navigate the turbulent landscape on their own.

Colin Deker, founder of New York-based 7 SEAZ Premium Cannabis, says the Revelry Buyers’ Club was  “the best family reunion I’ve been to years.”  He added that events like these strengthen the symbiotic relationship between retailers and producers that’s still being cemented in the state, a nod to the “collaboration over competition” mantra often used by CAURD social equity license holders.

Working together to innovate cannabis products

The Revelry Showcase was more like a celebration than a business event. The strong sense of camaraderie between farmers, extractors, and brands was evident as they mingled together to tout their products to retailers browsing the show.

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One common thread in product innovation was the introduction of infused liquid diamond vapes and prerolls from brands such as Jetpacks, Mfused, and Rove. Liquid diamonds are produced using an advanced and nuanced extraction process, and a trend capturing the attention of many cannabis connoisseurs across the country because of their pure form of cannabinoids and high potency.

The rise of cannabis beverages

Beverages are a great way to socialize and what we are all used to, but cannabis-infused drinks are finding it hard to go mainstream because of distribution restrictions imposed on the industry. State laws only allow for THC-infused beverages to be sold in dispensaries, and dispensaries don’t want the burden of the bulky inventory. Consumers are also used to shopping for alcoholic beverages in liquor or grocery stores, making it hard to change the consumer’s buying habits.

As more data points to consumers replacing alcohol with cannabis, brands don’t want to miss the opportunity to supply them with a cannabis-infused beverage. Many brands showcasing at the Revelry Buyers’ Club have solved this problem by introducing single-serving size drink mixes to their product lineup. Cannabis drink mixes are quickly becoming popular with consumers because they provide a discreet, easy grab ‘n’ go way to enjoy an infused beverage while socializing at a bar or restaurant.

Tapping into the functional wellness trend

As the functional wellness trend gains momentum, ingredients like adaptogens (non-psychoactive mushrooms) and nootropics (brain boosters) are becoming increasingly common in products designed to enhance mind, body, stress, brain function, gut health, and immunity. 

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The Revelry trade show highlighted how the cannabis industry is embracing this trend. For example, Eaton Botanicals showcases “NY’s First Functional Gummy,” emphasizing health and wellness as their top priority. Similarly, Foy, founded by two brothers and a nurse sister, incorporates Reishi mushroom, Valerian Root, and Chamomile into their gummies, focusing on mental health benefits.

Leaving no one behind

Despite promising innovations, many NY entrepreneurs are struggling to enter the market, and their efforts have been further hampered by Governor Kathy Hochul’s recent shakeup at the Office of Cannabis Management. However, the ones that have made it to dispensaries are top-notch. Without Revelry’s early support in uniting and educating the industry, NY’s small business owners may not have had the grit and resources to endure the challenges imposed by state regulators.

“We believe in the power of the communities most impacted by the War on Drugs, and our goal is to harness that power towards building a profitable and sustainable industry that does not sacrifice equity for growth and expansion,” said Jason E. Starr, Chief Impact Officer at On the Revel. “The Revelry Buyers’ Club curated the vibe and cultivated the pathways for connection, and, as they say, when you build it, the people will come.” 

*This article was submitted by a guest contributor. The author is solely responsible for its content.

*This article has been updated to correct a statement that said On the Revel began by organizing block parties, when instead they began with networking events.

Pam Chmiel is a contract marketer, publicist, podcast host, and a published writer specializing in the cannabis industry. She is based in Manhattan, NY.