Written by Kally Compton, Brian Garrido, Jaime Lubin, Mace Manjarres, Elara Montana, and Franklin Saldana; principal photography by Sam C. Long, Sinematic Studios, Who, and Brian Garrido

Team Honeysuckle has had some wild 420 holidays, but this year’s celebration echoed the theme of expansion in New York. Across the Five Boroughs and Greater New York, over 50 incredible events paid tribute to the relationship between people and plant (you can read more about them here). And while we certainly made our mark with another epic Times Square billboard campaign, we felt lucky to bear witness to so many different expressions of freedom to love cannabis.

“I had the best time with all of our partners and friends,” Honeysuckle founder Ronit Pinto enthused. “Cheers to everyone who came out to the Best Coast this 420 and celebrated with us.”

“This year's 420 was a remarkable evolution over the last year,” Honeysuckle’s Creative Director Sam C. Long said. “With little glimpses of the future in New York, we're seeing brands start to resonate with New Yorkers and product preferences emerge. I think that this city takes having fun seriously and we saw that out on 420.”

Honeysuckle Issue 18 featuring Queen P. and Bun B at The Emerald Dispensary (also see Issue 17 featuring Havoc of Mobb Deep) (C) Jaime Lubin / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @jaimelubin

Honeysuckle’s 18th Print Edition Featuring Bun B And Queen P.

In case you haven’t already heard, we launched our 18th print edition during this special week. Our 420 Issue this year is our first with dueling Fire and Ice covers - legendary rapper Bun B on one, pioneering marketing guru Queen P. on the other! Choose your element and find the magazines now at dispensaries nationwide, or order your copy through our website. If you were quick enough throughout the various 420 events, you probably got an issue at one of the city’s hottest spots… maybe even with someone who was in the issue. 

The fact is, Issue 18 chronicles much of what makes New York cannabis culture unique. While we do delve into icons from across the globe - including what makes Barcelona’s Spannabis one of the world’s greatest trade shows, how Jerome Baker founder Jason Harris became the leader in functional glass art, how Sherbinski’s Mario Guzman changed the genetics game with the Gelato family of strains, how Nick Bryan of Golden State Banana innovated cultivation techniques for generations of growers - there is plenty of space devoted to the power emerging from the Empire State. 

Nick Bryan, founder of Golden State Banana, with his Issue 18 spread at The Billy Awards (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Harlem’s own Puma Robinson, star of VH1’s Black Ink Crew, speaks on what inspired him to launch his first cannabis products. World-renowned graffiti artist Claw Money talks about bringing her work right to the source of artistry - ganja, femininity, and New York - through her collaboration with Etain Health. New York’s inaugural licensed retailer, Housing Works Cannabis Co, shared how they’re empowering other dispensary owners to make the adult-use market more inclusive, starting with Nicole and Christopher Lucien of Bliss and Lex, Manhattan’s first Black woman-owned cannabis store. HPI Canna, one of the state’s premier processors, opened up about embracing diverse representation in brands and how to embody “collaboration over competition” in the business landscape. The founders of the New York Cannabis Retail Association (NYCRA) divulged their six-point plan for getting cannabis policy reform to the top of legislators’ agenda this year, encouraging everyone to get involved. We shed light on some of the state’s most prominent cultivators who are lovingly bringing products from seed to sale. That’s not even mentioning the inside stories of great legacy players like 167 Exotics and Empire Cannabis Clubs, or the fantastic women of our Honey Spotlight. 

Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan performs at Steppin Stoned at SOBs (C) @sinematic.studios / Honeysuckle Media, Inc.

420 Pre-Game: Steppin Stoned, House Of Culture, And More

But back to the actual 420. National Cannabis Week kicked off with serious pre-games. Our friends at Housing Works and The Travel Agency were elevating all week, with the former’s “Meet the Brands” Cannathon and the latter teaming up with various partners on a wide array of experiences from art installations to secret comedy clubs. 

Meanwhile, CONBUD hosted the CUNY Cannabis Law Student Association’s “Legal To A Limit” networking event on April 18th. Co-sponsored by the Hudson Valley Hispanic Bar Association and the CUNY Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA), the event featured an enlightening panel on the cannabis legalization movement and the shifting policies around New York’s regulated industry. Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Kassandra Frederique moderated the panel, which spotlighted speakers Coss Marte, founder of CONBUD; attorney Jose Vasquez; Eli Northrup, Policy Director for Criminal Defense Practice at The Bronx Defenders and current candidate for the New York State Assembly’s 69th District; and Samantha O’Brien, Director of the Supervised Release Program at Fortune Society. 

On April 19th, globally-acclaimed DJ Cat Ouellette took the stage at Hidden Tiger NYC on the Lower East Side for House of Culture. Honeysuckle was proud to be a media partner for this unique evening highlighting three years of New York legalization. (Fun fact: Hidden Tiger is where we shot our Bun B cover story with producer Statik Selektah!) A mix of Asian fusion food, sweet nostalgic beats, and a great lineup of DJs made for a spectacular start to what Ouellette informs us will be a regular event series. Steve Sire, D-Tweed, and Epidemik spun alongside Lady Cat, while sponsors oHHo, Dosist, California Honey NYC, Indoor, and Jetty Extracts delivered plenty of goodies.

DJ Green Lantern spins at Steppin Stoned (C) @sinematic.studios / Honeysuckle Media, Inc.

That same night, the West Side got its throwback groove on at the famous nightclub Sounds Of Brazil (SOBs), where cultural impresario Seth Zaplin and friends presented Steppin Stoned. Honeysuckle was also a media partner for this “night of stars,” headlined by Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan and featuring outstanding performances by Lord Sko and DJ Green Lantern. Hosted by hip hop mogul Shiest Bubz, Steppin Stoned’s program was enhanced by an atmosphere of curated community. Cannabis brands and organizations came out in droves to mingle in the storied venue: Zatix, DeLisioso, Last Prisoner Project, 167 Exotics, Fourth Floor, Psychworld, Hashstoria, Baker Brothers, ADHDDead and more.

Here’s what Honeysuckle correspondent Sin of Sinematic Studios had to say about Steppin Stoned:

“It was a glorious turnout showing the depths of the new-age hip hop, with Lord Sko at the helm of the new school, to the awe-inspiring Wu-Tang giants like Raekwon waving the flag of the classic sounds that we know and love today. Not to mention the best cannabis brands and connoisseurs around. 💎”

Washington Square Park 420 Party (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

420 In Washington Square Park

When 420 dawned, we just couldn’t slow down. In the morning, we fanned out across the city. Creative Director Sam C. Long took in the sights at Washington Square Park. This monumental meetup has been a holiday tradition for the past few years, but the 2024 iteration showed just how it’s evolved. With plenty of classic skateboard culture in evidence and presence from leading brands such as The Astor Club, Doja, Archive Seeds, House of Piff, Dubz Garden, and many others, it’s clear that the Washington Square Park gathering will continue to be a staple of how the Big Apple honors the greatest cannabis day of the year. 

Honeysuckle’s 420 In Times Square: Look Up, New York!

The whole team came together in the afternoon for the magic moment. Our Times Square billboard campaign this year said a giant “High, NYC!” to the City That Never Sleeps, at the key intersection of 41st Street and 7th Avenue. Featuring an innovative subway animation from the team at MacGyver Consulting, Honeysuckle and partners had fun in the sun. We were thrilled to represent New York brands across many different categories. Our partners Weedubest, The Herbal Care, Flower Mill, Culture House, MJ’s Eds, Ganja Pigs, 167 Exotics, Jimmy the Green Giant, and of course MacGyver Consulting all showcase distinctive aspects of the cannabis marketplace. 

It was a fabulous time at 4:20 when our street team, comprised of Honeysuckle writers, CAURD licensees, and cannabis advocates, enjoyed locally-grown flower courtesy of Weedubest. Flower Mill CEO Brent Stevens and Weedubest founder Paul Steketee joined us for festive puffs and pics to commemorate the golden hour.

Honeysuckle correspondent Franklin Saldana, on set as a member of the street team, stated, “4/20 was a great experience! Seeing Honeysuckle and other cannabis based companies on a Times Square billboard is something very motivating and shows how far along the industry has come. I love the spring/summer edition of the Honeysuckle magazine and I am very excited for what's coming in the future. I had a great time experiencing a big win for the industry with some great pre-rolls from Weedubest!”

The members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation drum band Old Sound, featuring rapper King Charles FNYK (center) (C) Who / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @who.shotyuh

420 In The Hamptons: Little Beach Harvest

Outside the city, writer Elara Montana and photographer Who traveled to Southampton on Long Island for Little Beach Harvest’s “420 in the Hamptons” spectacular. The daylong party at the Shinnecock Indian Nation’s adult-use dispensary solidified the location as a cannabis tourism destination, with free games, treats, activities, live music, and education about tribal heritage. 

Montana shared her favorite moments from the event: “From an opening prayer given by the Shinnecock Indian Nation Sunksqua [a position of tribal authority on the Council of Trustees], Linda Franklin, to the Canna-bus, the Little Beach Harvest 420 event was packed with comradery, consumption, and community. With various booths of local canna-brands scattered around the dispensary's grounds, and live music being performed throughout the day, patrons of the community came out to celebrate the plant we all adore. Many of the brands showed out with samples of their products, and food was provided by various food trucks. A highlight came in the form of a tent where the bravest of stoners can get gassed up in a hot-box-style experience. One of the most special moments of the day was an opening drum performance by the Indigenous drum group, Old Sound. Using a drum traditionally used by more southern tribes, the group’s ten-minute performance had an emotional impact that set the day’s events off in a spiritual way. Overall the day was filled with great people, great music, and great weed.”

Who agreed that the Shinnecock’s traditional opening prayer and hotbox activation were the standout elements. “To have the opening ceremony with the native tribe of the region begin the 420 festivities with a prayer and song was a fantastic start to a beautiful day,” he noted. “After that, the weather cleared up and you saw the diversity and joy being shared with the residents of the Hamptons… The hotbox tent is definitely an honorable mention.”

RuPaul's Drag Race winner Yvie Oddly at FLAMER's Spring Picnic (C) Kally Compton / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @kallycompton

420 In Prospect Park: FLAMER’s Spring Picnic

In New York City, where public 420 celebrations are still relatively new post-legalization, hundreds of wholesome queers gathered at FLAMER’s annual picnic in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park to mark the occasion. FLAMER, known as "NY's hottest queer weed brand," brought together artists, creatives, and innovators united by their love for New York's finest cannabis. And our staff editor, Kally Compton covered the whole picnic on FLAMER’s Instagram. 

Since 2021, FLAMER has hosted a spring picnic to welcome the season with flowers and flower, creating a space for freedom of expression. Co-founders, Matías Alvial and Wyatt Harms, expressed a desire to create events that prioritize good friendship and self-care over alcohol-centric nightlife. 

The picnic featured FLAMER's high-quality bud in their signature red pre-rolls, along with activities that matched the peaceful, euphoric, and grounded vibe of the crowd. 

Attendees enjoyed a guided meditation led by Solonje Burnett, known as Weed Auntie and Aviva Jaye, a harpist, as well as a yoga session led by Eric Mosley. Those seeking a queer-summer-camp-vibe could enjoy arts and crafts, while others received Tarot readings. Breanna Neff, a Cornell-educated food scientist and weed entrepreneur, offered her Brelixi THC and CBD drink mixes, aiming to integrate cannabis more into daily life. Special guests like RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 winner Yvie Oddly added to the event's charm with her crazy colored contacts and contagious laugh. 

The event stood out from other commercial and ticketed 420 events, showcasing a new, queer smoking culture in New York that emphasizes community in the legalized era. 

The Emerald Dispensary's co-owner Ramon Roman with Honeysuckle Issue 18 featuring his co-owner Christina De Giovanni (C) Jaime Lubin / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @jaimelubin

420 In Bushwick: The Emerald Dispensary

Honeysuckle correspondent Mace Manjarres reported on The Emerald Dispensary’s 420 party, which went long into the night.

The Emerald Dispensary’s vibrant 420 event encapsulated the essence of a familial potluck, with its inviting outdoor setting, delectable BBQ fare, and engaging conversations—all set to the pulsating beats of DJ Dap Soul's reggae-infused house and hip-hop music. This festive gathering was not just about celebration; it served a pivotal educational purpose, enlightening attendees on the merits of regulated, safe cannabis use. Owner Christina De Giovanni emphasized the importance of responsible consumption, stating, “It is really important for consumers to know what is regulated, safe, and reliable...and be aware of cannabis cultivated responsibly.” The event highlighted The Emerald Dispensary as a beacon of trustworthiness in a landscape often overshadowed by illicit operations, eliciting a wave of positive feedback from the community grateful for the presence of a legal, reliable dispensary.

Looking to the future, The Emerald Dispensary is poised to deepen its roots in the Brooklyn community, where its founders were born and raised. De Giovanni shared their local commitment, saying, “My partner [Ramon Roman] and I discussed if we go to a second or third location, like where we want to go… We often talk about staying in Brooklyn and having three locations within because we want to represent that authentically by giving back to the community.” 

Plans are underway to utilize their space for community benefits, including hosting events for nonprofits like the ASPCA and providing platforms for local artists and musicians. With a diverse lineup of future activities ranging from comedy shows to educational workshops planned for their onsite consumption lounge, The Emerald Dispensary is set to continue its mission. 

Reflecting on the journey, De Giovanni adds, “There are some growing pains, but for people who have been in the cannabis industry for ten, fifteen years, we are no strangers. You just got to stick to it, if you love it, you’re passionate about it, you’ve got to stick with it!” 

Through these initiatives, Emerald not only offers a safe space for cannabis consumption but also actively enriches the local community by supporting various causes and cultural activities, thus challenging the stigma surrounding cannabis and fostering a broader understanding and acceptance of its use.

MARY Magazine founder Adrian Farquharson at MARY Fest (C) Jaime Lubin / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @jaimelubin

420 At MARY Fest

Just steps away from The Emerald Dispensary, Honeysuckle Editor-At-Large Jaime Lubin enjoyed the sensory experience that was MARY Fest. Scott Studio in Bushwick was converted into an indoor space for several major brand activations, while the Garden of MARY provided an outdoor space for music by DJ LALA, Jamaican-inspired food from Aroma Culinary, and consumption opportunities for all. 

Throughout the day, attendees came to learn, sample, and mingle. It was a fantastic turnout with many cannabis community leaders flocking to MARY Fest’s soothing yet stimulating vibe. Of particular note was the master class hosted by Royal Queen Seeds, which showed interested consumers how to cultivate plants at home. 

Several vendors offered interesting ways to groove with the plant. There was a constant crowd around the RYTHM booth, getting educated on superb concentrates. GRAV paired bong rips with a mobile espresso bar from Sole Cafe NYC; you could also find their glass pieces at the Old Pal station. PAX gamed their way through the afternoon with spin-the-wheel giveaways and cornhole rewards. Queenee Da Kanna Kritic presided over MFNY’s dab bar with her expert recommendations and Puffco devices. House of Puff made refreshing mocktails featuring their first consumable product, The Spritz. 

MARY Magazine founder Adrian Farquharson and his team ensured the whole program ran smoothly, dropping in on various vendors to see that all needs were met and chatting with guests to get feedback on the overall experience. For many in attendance, MARY Fest was one of the most creative 420 activations they had ever seen. Light your joints in a toast - next year in Brooklyn!

The Smoker's Club x Cookies Farmer's Market (C) Ronit Pinto / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @honey_ronit

420 In Williamsburg: The Smoker’s Club x Cookies Farmer’s Market

The Smoker’s Club and Cookies presented The Farmer’s Market, “where everything’s freshest,” at a secret location in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Serving as the album release party for renowned rapper Berner, co-founder and CEO of Cookies and VIBES Papers, the gathering brought together top cannabis brands, cultivators, and enthusiasts for a day of exploration and enjoyment. Canna connoisseurs were surely thrilled to be among not just Berner, but Smoker’s Club co-founder and Good Talk founder Jonny Shipes, Grammy-nominated producer Cozmo, and viral performers such as comedian Stoney Mama.

In addition to the live music, food trucks, and showcases of vintage and exclusive strains, attendees were treated to vendor activations with a tongue-in-cheek rustic aesthetic. But the VIP area was all deluxe, from the swag bags and private tables to Focus V’s dab bar. Brand partners included PowerzzzUp, Gotti, Fu’s Flowers, High Mart, Buddy’s Bodega, La Coz, Dubz Garden, New Terp City, Focus V, Jelly Wizard, Flavor Boyz, Bay Area Flavors, Friendly Brand, Inspiration Seed Co., Zatix, Icy Dona, Shmack Wich, and more.

Dazed owner Keshawn Warner at the 420 Block Party (C) Brian Garrido / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @360degreeconcepts

420 In Manhattan: Dazed And Polanco Brothers

Honeysuckle correspondent and filmmaker Brian Garrido and WRAP FM founder Eric Velasquez, both CAURD licensees, checked in at the 420 Block Party that Dazed Cannabis was throwing at its Union Square location, and later at the Polanco Brothers dispensary near Bryant Park. Garrido filed this news dispatch as he and Velasquez documented the holiday bliss.

This 420 was another one for the books! I made my way to Dazed dispensary to start off the festivities, with a live DJ onsite pumping up pedestrians as they walked by; it was definitely a place to get the party started. The catered snacks and refreshments were more than welcoming as the foot traffic became an endless line of partygoers looking to purchase their favorite cannabis goodies for the 4:20pm countdown. 

Before leaving I had a chance to speak to Khalil Lozoraitis, CEO of Weekenders Cannabis. He hooked me up with a few flavors of his pre-rolls and I made my way to 42nd Street, Times Square, to meet with the Honeysuckle team for the much-awaited billboard activation of the day. 

I had a chance to meet Paul Steketee, founder and CEO of Weedubest. We chopped it up for a bit and I got some insight on all the great things he has lined up for the cannabis space. Once the clock struck 4:20, we all put one in the air for National Weed Day. The Honeysuckle billboard lit bright green as I took a deep drag and thought back on my memories in this industry. 

I packed it up shortly after, and made my way to Polano Brothers Dispensary, a family-owned retailer located near Grand Central Terminal, where I met with Jerry Lin, Founder and CEO of CannaDreams, a social equity dispensary opening in Hell’s Kitchen (Midtown Manhattan) Spring 2024. 

Make sure to follow Honeysuckle, and be there for our next adventure! 


Featured image: Team Honeysuckle at 41st Street and 7th Avenue in Times Square celebrating the 420 billboard campaign and Issue 18 launch. Front: Brian Garrido, Eric Velasquez. Back: Jaime Lubin, Mace Manjarres, Alex @lostarcade_, @kirchen. (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture