There were fireworks on July 4th this year, and not just the literal ones that burst overhead. At New Terp City, hosted by cannabis industry pioneer Josh Schmidt and friends, there were explosions of goodwill, product innovation, and the commingling of natural beauty and premium offerings that made this elevated experience spectacular.

New Terp City host and cannabis industry pioneer Josh Schmidt at Vetro NYC on Howard Beach, Queens (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Who Is Josh Schmidt And What Is New Terp City?

Schmidt, the Vice President of Business Development for Natura Life Science, knows how to throw a good party. The veteran has been in the cannabis space for over 20 years, creating companies that have been foundational in industry growth and taking on various advocacy and leadership roles. Most recently, through Natura’s platform and distribution service that brings legacy brands to wider markets, Schmidt has launched the in-house brands Sluggers Hit and Dee Thai, two names on glorious display at New Terp City.

Taking place at Vetro by Russo’s on the Bay, an historic restaurant and lounge on Howard Beach in Queens, New Terp City brought together a vast range of East and West Coast brands to showcase the cannabis community. From larger-than-life California and New York titans, to emerging family-owned operations out of Maine and Maryland, the event cut a broad accessible swath that could be called nothing less than the best of the best.

The event had an open, welcoming vibe that invited all present to personalize their joy however they saw fit. Part networking opportunity, part cocktail party, part friends reconnecting, there seemed to be something for everyone.

Brand strategist, designer and Emerald Cup judge Rachael Arias, AKA Karma Stoned, describes the event as “a convergence of both East and West Coast cannabis culture. It was a melting pot of heavy hitters from both coasts in order to link and build together. It truly felt like a huge leap forward for the cannabis culture in the nation.”

Brand strategist/designer Karma Stoned @karma_stoned, Halle Pennington of The Humboldt Seed Company @halle_penn, and Josh Schmidt (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Which Cannabis Industry Notables Attended New Terp City?

“It was cool to get out of the city proper, to be along the coast and on the beach with everyone,” notes Sam C. Long, Honeysuckle’s Creative Director. “As to be expected with a Josh Schmidt/Sluggers event, the best of California and New York were there: Viola, TerpHogz, Champelli, Sweetooth, Humboldt Seed Company, House of Piff, and so many more. It was surreal.”

Industry notables hobnobbed the night away. From 5PM to 1AM, the party buzzed with the likes of TerpHogz co-founders Tony Mendo and Jondo; former NBA Hall of Famer and Viola Brands founder Al Harrington; Richard DeLisi (formerly the nation’s longest-serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner) and his DeLisioso team; Grammy Award-winning producer Cozmo, owner of Dubz Garden; Erica Diener, Emerging Markets Senior Account Executive at Weedmaps; Halle Pennington, Products Executive at Humboldt Seed Company; Dizzy, owner of the New Jersey-based brand Neon Heights; Alexander and Adam Harowicz, twin co-founders of Staack; Steph.V and Euro V of Certz; storied cultivator Champelli; and many more.

Richard DeLisi at New Terp City (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture
Vetro NYC (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Vetro On Howard Beach: The Perfect Venue For New Terp City

Situating the event at Vetro was an ingenious atmospheric move. Named the Tristate Area’s number-one restaurant by OpenTable, the venue is iconic in its home neighborhood, and symbolized to many attendees a next level of integration between cannabis and mainstream culture. It seems particularly significant that in an area where notorious mob boss John Gotti once resided (and a restaurant he allegedly patronized), that his descendants should return to the same place years later with the Gotti cannabis brand, legitimizing their family legacy with entry into this burgeoning industry.

“Vetro by Russo’s on the Bay couldn’t have been a more picture perfect backdrop to an absolutely stellar 4th of July,” Karma Stoned affirms. “The retractable, smoke-friendly rooftop coupled with an ostentatious fireworks display definitely wowed everyone in attendance. The Russo family were incredible hosts that provided a great mix of glamorous nightlife with down to earth family vibes.” She adds that everyone who experienced New Terp City is already looking forward to returning to Howard Beach next year.

“The venue was absolutely perfect,” Erica Diener of Weedmaps enthuses. “It had all the elements needed for a great party. I loved the layout with the vendors on the second floor and the lounge upstairs. We watched fireworks off the back deck overlooking the water and it was really special. We had fun all night long with good food, drinks, the best weed, and the best company you could ask for.”

Left to right: Honeysuckle founder Ronit Pinto @honey_ronit, Erica Diener of Weedmaps @wm_erica, and Dizzy of Neon Heights @dizzycordova (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Many attendees have been heaping praise upon Vetro and its General Manager Priscilla Dolce. As Jake Robinson, Director of Sales at Northeast Leaf Magazine remarks, it’s because the restaurant served as a liminal setting that totally erased the lines between “cannabis culture” and the mainstream: “Vetro was incredible. It’s three stories; the food was top-quality. But more importantly, this is a space where they do weddings and Bar mitzvahs, family events. Yet [for New Terp City] it was filled with vendors, and everyone was so respectful. It was akin to being socially accepted for the first time. If we [the cannabis community] are going to be accepted and embraced by the rest of the world, to undo everything that prohibition has done to us image-wise, this is what people want to see… It was accessible from a price perspective for the vendors and the attendees, and the venue was supportive of us. Everyone who was there was a winner.”

And in turn, it seemed as though the brands displaying their wares found fans of every demographic too. With dozens upon dozens of companies present, each person could discover what fit their exact tastes.

Left to right: Champelli @champelli, Ken Darby of DeLisioso @simplyradio, Euro V of Certz @euro__v, and Ronit Pinto (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Which Brands Are New Terp City Guests Shouting Out?

Erica Diener

Highlight products were definitely the hash holes from Champelli, TerpHogz, and First Class. One of my favorite brands right now is Viola for what they are doing on a community level. They have really been showing up for NYC and I love to see it. From basketball games in my neighborhood to food pop-ups in the Lower East Side, they understand the culture and are coming through with good products.

Karma Stoned

I may be biased, but Humboldt Seed Company truly has put the Emerald Triangle on the map across the world when it comes to genetics. Their autoflower line has made it possible for people to bring craft cannabis to the market faster.

Jake Robinson

Third Shift Resin is a small family business from Maine, who’s just pushing out the gas and the best fucking rosin in the state. Feeling Frosty Hash, by husband-and-wife founders Madison and Jess, have been doing the work in Sonoma for a long time. Their hash is absolute top-tier… SelfBaked is a woman-owned brand of take-and-bake edibles, including phenomenal red velvet brownies. I’ve got to shout out Golden State Banana’s excellent solventless gummies, and of course Maine Trees / B’s Trees, 167 Exotics, Buddy’s Bodega, Gotti, and Sluggers and Dee Thai for always doing things that are out of the box.

Karma Stoned and Halle Pennington (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture
The 167 Exotics team @167exotics (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

What’s The Future For New Terp City And The Cannabis Community?

Though fun – and some rabbit-themed dancing – abounded, the standout moment came when everybody gathered on the beach for an Independence Day tradition. “One of the things that made the night exceptional was how close the fireworks were,” Long remarks. “They basically set them off right over our heads, which allowed me to get some photographs of people in the foreground with fireworks in the sky.” For a visual master, those shots are priceless.

Even when the lights had faded, the emotional power of what had transpired stayed with those who witnessed it. New Terp City was a seminal event, a testament to the craft of cannabis culture and those leading its charge.

Josh Schmidt and Ronit Pinto (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture

Diener agrees that “New Terp City will definitely stand out for me as one of the best events of the year. It really captured the New York vibe while bringing together some of the best brands in the country.” She gives a huge thanks to host Josh Schmidt for everything he does for the national and global cannabis community.

For Karma Stoned, the experience resonated as a beacon of inspiration, heralding people from across the country to bond in friendship over the plant and values they hold dear. She says that even for the moment, it helped her to see beyond the troubles plaguing her hometown market: “As the entire California cannabis community is experiencing an extremely cutthroat bottleneck in this industry, New Terp City gave an inspiring spark of hope to folks on the West Coast who are hoping to expand to emerging markets. I am looking forward to partnering and growing with our friends on the East Coast.”

“It refreshed your soul,” Robinson asserts of the event. “I think everyone, especially if you’re jaded with the cannabis industry, should get out and see an event like that, to see what it is and what it can be, what you can influence positively that you may not have had the opportunity to before… And I have to thank Josh [Schmidt] for that… because he’s done so much for the culture and industry on both coasts. He’s a true mensch and someone I look up to. [New Terp City] was so much love, and I don’t know anyone other than Josh who could have put it together.”

Keep up with Josh Schmidt by following @khunjosh80 on Instagram. For more on Natura Life Science, visit To learn more about Dee Thai, visit Find out more about Sluggers by visiting

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Josh Schmidt

Natura Life + Science

Vetro by Russo's On the Bay

Priscilla Dolce

Erica Diener


Karma Stoned

Jake Robinson

Northeast Leaf Magazine

Al Harrington

Viola Brands

Richard DeLisi


Ken Darby

Sam C. Long

Ronit Pinto


Featured image: New Terp City host and cannabis industry pioneer Josh Schmidt at Vetro NYC on Howard Beach, Queens (C) Sam C. Long / Honeysuckle Media, Inc. @tissuekulture