Pot and Poppy Painting: In the “immersive” Van Gogh exhibit of a cannabis lifestyle company

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Inside were some of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous paintings. Outside there was a terrace where guests could enjoy a branded, pre-rolled joint that was delivered in a special gift bag.

Hospitality and media startup Happy Munkey is benefiting from the legalization of marijuana in New York state for adults 21 and older as it is located at 11th Street in Lower Manhattan.

Both nights were sold out with a total of about 1,000 people spending $ 125 on a VIP ticket and $ 200 on a Super VIP package. Guests received a gift bag containing a variety of now legal substances such as pre-rolled joints in tubes adorned with images of Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Happy Munkey’s smiling primate logo.

Happy Munkey CEO Vladimir Bautista told MarketWatch the event shows that cannabis is prime time ready and can spice up events, exhibitions and dining out. It’s more than just a retail product with an entire ecosystem of food, clothing, paraphernalia, health and beauty products, and even beverages.

“It’s the future!” Said Bautista, who offered a firm handshake and entrepreneurial energy with an enthusiastic greeting. Happy Munkey was founded about four years ago, long before New York legalized marijuana in 2021, but the company’s private parties are now being greeted by an exhibit that has drawn crowds in several cities, he said.

“When you have the community – the people – behind you, you can do anything,” he said. “We’re just trying to make people happy.”

No alcohol was served at the event, but there were mocktails and loads of cannabis products to add to the intoxicating atmosphere. People inside wore masks according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, and outside they refrained from giving anything around.

Guests smoked in the Happy Munkey Consumption Lounge on the exhibition’s outdoor terrace on Manhattan’s Pier 36. This was followed by a visit to the exhibition to enjoy the undulating and colorful images and music in the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, the critical exhibition, the celebrated creation of the celebrated creation Video artist Massimiliano Siccardi.

On the second of the two nights, the crowd wandered between the exhibition and the courtyard. People seemed a little more interested in meeting outside, where conversation and cannabis were accompanied by views of the East River and the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

Meetings like this will no doubt play a role if the U.S. cannabis industry grows to $ 85 billion in sales by 2030, according to Cowen Group estimates. Other estimates suggest that the legal cannabis business in the US will grow by around 18% annually. That outlook has sparked investor interest in a healthy selection of pot stocks like Tilray Inc. TLRY, + 1.23%.,
Canopy Growth Corp. CGC, + 1.74%,
Green Thumb Industries Inc. GTBIF, + 2.27%,
Curaleaf Holdings Inc. CURLF, + 2.49%,
MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF, -0.72% and Acreage Holdings Inc. ACRHF, -1.28%.

It is more difficult to calculate the potential effects of cannabis on travel, live events, bars and restaurants, and recreational activities. Consumer lounges remain an emerging business with potential for wide-ranging impact, especially given a rebounding hospitality market that is still recovering from COVID-19

Pot remains illegal at the federal level and is holding back the growth of the industry. But larger states like New York and New Jersey are planning to start issuing retail cannabis licenses, which will bring down prices through competition.

Liquor makers have had pot on their radar for years since 2017, Constellation Brands Inc. STZ, + 0.69%, began buying its large stake in Canopy Growth. Big tobacco companies like Imperial Brands IMB, -2.18%, have also made some investments in the cannabis space. Cannabis also touches the media, live events, film, television, and retail – not to mention the vast health, beauty, and agriculture sectors.

Samantha Gleit, a partner at cannabis law specialist Feuerstein Kulick LLP, said it was difficult for growing cannabis companies to raise capital from traditional bank loans. It is impossible to use cannabis to secure debt as it is still banned by the federal government. It is also difficult for cannabis companies to keep bank accounts as the revenues from the sector are still viewed as drug money in the federal banking system.

However, it is possible to set up country-specific credit structures. Some lenders have tacitly provided services under the cannabis banking guidelines set out during the Obama administration. Family offices and high net worth individuals, as well as other private investment firms, have provided debt finance to the sector.

With cannabis becoming more prevalent on a legal basis, just selling it to attract crowds will not be enough because it will be so widespread.

This is where Happy Munkey comes in, combining content with cannabis through live events and other get-togethers to make the experience even more engaging.

Amanda Reyes, chairman of the board of directors of the Cannabis Cultural Association in New York City, said Happy Munkey was helping normalize cannabis after decades of banning.

“It used to be that you had to go to the seediest part of town,” she said as she looked at the night owls who were puffing marijuana cigarettes. “When I go to such an event, I don’t want to drink, I want to smoke.”

Exchange traded Global X cannabis fund POTX, +1.61%, is down 21.1% in the past three months but is up 11.3% in the past 12 months. In comparison, the S&P 500 Index SPX + 0.23% pinned at 6.9% in the past three months and gained 30.8% over the past year.