In Fall 2021, the cannabis events and education platform Ontherevel returned to live-and-in-person glory with Revelry, its first daylong community conference in New York City. The inaugural program was so successful that they were able to follow with a second Revelry in February 2022, kickstarting a new tradition of industry education in the Big Apple.
What Is Ontherevel?
Co-founders Jacobi Holland and Lulu Tsui have been bringing industry and cultural figures together for meaningful conversations around cannabis through Ontherevel’s projects since 2015. Both had experience in tech and cannabis from out west, with Tsui hailing from Washington and Holland from Colorado. But as New York City residents, they felt local events were lacking quality and access for on-the-ground operators. Ontherevel was formed to celebrate the diversity not only of New York's burgeoning cannabis industry, but also as a testament to the overall power of the community.
Today Ontherevel produces both live and digital events to highlight the business opportunities in cannabis. Recently, they launched their Dope People community on Discord, where every Tuesday through Friday at 12PM EST, special programs are offered so that members can interact with industry experts. Check out the upcoming speaker and programming schedule through Ontherevel's website and social media.
Revelry: Ontherevel Returns to Live Events
After being relegated to online-only events during 2020 and most of 2021, the first Revelry was built to celebrate both New York State’s legalization of adult-use cannabis and Ontherevel’s evolution to another level of production. The results were deemed extraordinary by attendees, many of whom applauded Ontherevel’s efforts to honor the communities most in need of representation within the cannabis space.
With a program including 15 Ted Talk-style presentations from curated speakers, 9 ask-me-anything dialogues about cannabis licensing, local brand activations from New York-based companies, and musical performances throughout, Revelry truly lived up to its name. The conference was intentionally created for current and future cannabis operators, focused to address issues surrounding how to transition the legacy market to regulation.
Which Cannabis Industry Leaders Presented at Revelry?
A diverse list of presenters featured figures known far and wide to cannabis professionals. Among them: New York State Senator Liz Krueger, a lead sponsor of the Marijuana Regulation and Tax Act (MRTA); Chenae Bullock, Managing Director of Little Beach Harvest and a prominent member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation; New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney, co-chair of the Marijuana Task Force for the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus; Matthew Kittay, a Partner at the Fox Rothschild law firm, Co-Chair of its Mergers & Acquisitions Practice Group and Chair of its New York Corporate team; Brittany Carbone, CEO of TONIC, a top-of-the-line CBD brand with an all-female leadership team; Steven Phan, CEO of the groundbreaking wellness product destination Come Back Daily; and Jesce Horton, CEO of the award-winning cannabis company LOWD and a visionary known for co-founding the Minority Cannabis Business Association along with other revolutionary achievements.
Ontherevel co-produced Revelry with Point Seven Group, a global management consulting firm, and Cannaclusive, a collective focused on inclusivity and diversity in cannabis. We’re confident it will be the first of many standout events to come from the minds of Holland and Tsui and their team in the post-legalization era.
Ontherevel CEO Lulu Tsui on Revelry and the Future of New York Cannabis
Honeysuckle asked Tsui, as Ontherevel’s CEO - that’s Chief Experience Officer - to share her thoughts on what made the conference a standout event, and what she envisions for New York cannabis going forward.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: How do you feel Ontherevel represents the cannabis industry in NYC?
LULU TSUI: Ontherevel focuses on showcasing companies and organizations we think are setting the gold standard within the cannabis industry and who share the same ethos that our industry can be inclusive, diverse, and have opportunities for all. Since we strive to be mindful and inclusive, we intentionally feature women and professionals of color on our stage which mirrors the beautiful and diverse cross-section of the audience that can only be found in NYC.
What makes OnTheRevel presentations unique from other panels, events or conferences in the space?
Jacobi and I are both experience and product designers in our other professional lives. We employ the same user experience and design methodologies to our events as we do with our enterprise clients. Which means we first learn what is important to our audience, then we create the program, and last we invite the best people from our network to be a speaker. We’ve never gone the “Call for Speakers” route.
[Also] Jacobi and I have spent a lot of time building solid authentic relationships with good players in cannabis. When you attend one of our events, you can feel the positive energy and the authenticity coming from our speakers, the audience, the sponsors… it’s definitely a vibe because we choose to work with our cannabis family.
How did you work with sponsors for Revelry?
The same way we work with everyone actually. We always start with understanding their goals and motivations and seeing how Ontherevel can support. We are only interested in building long term relationships with good people because that’s the only way a healthy cannabis market will flourish.
You had some significant players at the conference, from speakers to sponsors and even in the audience.
Yes we did; none of this can happen without our partners and sponsors. It was wonderful to have Weedmaps and Hawthorne come in as our Title Sponsors. It felt great to know they are proactively embracing the New York market with good intentions. And big shout out to Leaflink, Fox Rothschild, and Cole Schotz for being amazing partners since the beginning.
What would you like to see for the future of NYC’s cannabis industry?
New York is still a global influencer. We have the opportunity to learn from previous markets, and create the standard for the global cannabis industry. This includes specifically providing opportunities for everyone.
There was a cannabis industry way before it went medical or adult-use, created from the sweat and sacrifice of many people who look like us. The existing “legal” industry does not. We want to ensure that the people who built the existing cannabis industry in New York are able to participate in a meaningful way as legalization moves forward.
What do you expect to see play out in real time?
To be honest, we won’t know until they let us get started. But knowing New Yorkers, the game is on!
For more information about Ontherevel, visit ontherevel.com.
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A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's Black History Month print edition, featuring Wiz Khalifa! Buy your copy now and stay tuned for our 420 issue featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money.