There was definitely something in the air on Saturday, May 13, as Cannastock NY kicked off its all-day festivities inside Poughkeepsie, New York’s Majed J. Nesheiwat (MJN) Convention Center in the heart of the Hudson Valley, an area one hour north of New York City. President and geneticist of Green Luster Phenos, Justin Esquivel, delivered the keynote address for the event.
The highly anticipated event took on a festive and carnival atmosphere inside the venue as more than 50 participating exhibitors showcased the best of the Hudson Valley cannabis community to more than 3,000 cannabis aficionados. Sure, the upbeat electric vibes were not only palpable but infectious at this second Cannastock NY event. It’s safe to say that Hudson Valley in general – and Poughkeepsie in particular – are indeed very happy that the plant has taken center stage in Cannastoke New York.
“The interest and anticipation from cannabis consumers in the Hudson Valley has just hit the roof,” he said. Martin MillsCannastock NY co-founder and co-producer. “But that’s the mission behind Cannabis NY: to bring authentic cannabis culture to New York where we can all get together and have fun.”
Mills, a longtime New York cannabis marketer based in Woodstock, sums up the eclectic event succinctly: “Cannastock NY is, at its core, an immersive cannabis event.”
Esquivel, a global geneticist, largely agrees with Mills’ assessment of the current state of cannabis in New York and the Hudson Valley.
“I know Cannastock NY is focused on the entire state, but I understand that the cannabis culture here in the Hudson Valley is very predominant,” Esquivel says. “And the cannabis market in the Hudson Valley is one that will see significant consumer engagement and engagement — something that consumers need to be in for the cannabis industry to have a chance of success.”
California dreaming? Not much.
When asked how New York would fare when compared to California’s spotty cannabis experience, Esquivel is unequivocal in his bullish belief in the Empire State’s success.
“New York State will see a bigger green rush than the West Coast — absolutely,” he says. “You have vertical farmers in New York City who grow acres of cannabis, but they do it vertically. They may only have 500 square feet; but they’re four, five, up to twelve layers of cultivation. These vertical growers are really capable of maximizing their square footage.” But I strongly believe that the New York City market as well as the New York State market will far surpass what California has done genetically.”
The self-described “genetic engineer” sees a clear future for cannabis. “I really believe that in ten years we’re going to see federal legalization of cannabis,” says Esquivel. “And that’s going to change the way farmers grow in general, and it’s going to completely change the cannabis market in this country.”
During Esquivel’s keynote address to Hudson Valley Cannabis enthusiasts, he honed in on the specific axiom genetics he wanted to convey, and talked about genetics, tissue culture and clean farming. “The main point I wanted people to make is that tissue transplantation can be done even by a local individual at very low cost, and it allows you to grow without watering or feeding your plants at all,” says Esquivel. “So whether you’re a home grower, growing in your tank or in a tent, and you’re growing just one plant, you can still benefit from tissue culture, as can commercial growers.”
According to Mills, Cannastock NY organizers are already planning a third event, set for fall later this year. The first event, which took place at The Colony in Woodstock in October 2022, had around 800 participants, a number largely surpassed by last week’s Poughkeepsie event.
“The cannabis industry in New York is moving in the right direction,” says Mills. “We’re currently shooting half a cylinder out of five, but we’re moving in the right way. Interest from cannabis consumers has never been higher in the state.”
Esquivel, who is a native of Belize, agrees. “Green Luster Venus It’s all New York,” he says. “My company — and I — want to make an impression in the industry. See, in 2009, I lost my grandfather to cancer. He was given the only THC derivative pill available at the time because it was the only thing that helped keep him fed during the intense radiation therapy. So yeah, it’s a big reason why I have such solid roots here in New York, and I want to come back here. And do you know anything else? I will make a mark in the industry.”