Source: High NY

High NY Community Raises Thousands As Top Cannabis Business Leaders Embrace Higher Standards of Corporate Social Responsibility

New York, March 18, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- “If your cannabis business model doesn’t include making a positive social impact, then you have no business being in the cannabis industry—especially not in New York, fuggedaboutit!” says Michael Zaytsev, Founder of High NY, New York City’s most potent platform for cannabis education events and cannabis community empowerment.

On March 21, 2019, High NY will be hosting it’s high end Cannabis Business Soirée at the swanky Jue Lan Club, former site of the infamous Limelight Club. Leaders and high achievers in the tri-state cannabis business community—including Super Bowl Champion and former New York Giant, Geoff Pope— will gather in NYC to raise money for people who were harmed by cannabis prohibition.


All proceeds from High NY’s Cannabis Business Soirée will go to Defy Ventures, a non-profit that provides entrepreneurship training, executive mentoring, financial investment, and business incubation services for formerly incarcerated people. 


Nearly 1,000,000 people in New York state--known as the marijuana arrest capital of the world--have been incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses in the past 20 years alone. People of color comprised, on average, between 80-90 percent of these arrests.


“This industry has grown from an entrepreneurial spirit that was operating long before legalization,”says Marcus Glover, Venture Capitalist and Board Member at Defy Ventures. “It has also emerged from unjust policies whose enforcement have disproportionately hurt--and economically repressed--communities of color. Therefore, cannabis businesses must prioritize partnering with the communities most harmed by the War on Drugs: this means ensuring that the people from those communities can share in the wealth and entrepreneurial opportunities created by legalization. And, it’s essential that those partnerships are established up front from the very beginning, otherwise, we risk creating another industry that lacks equity and leaves certain groups disenfranchised.”


According to High NY, this event is meant to serve as a reminder to cannabis business leaders and the broader cannabis community of the implicit obligation to support and revitalize the communities most damaged by prohibition.


“Don’t wait for legalization, or anything else for that matter, to be a responsible cannabis citizen. Contribute to criminal justice reform, economic equity, and community repair now. You don’t have to personally close Rikers, or go lobby in Albany, but if you benefit from the plant, and believe in human dignity, you have to do something. Support one of the many great nonprofits, like Defy Ventures, doing the difficult, restorative justice work. Volunteer, donate, get active,” Zaytsev instructs bluntly. “And, if you’re seeking to profit from this plant, then you have an even higher obligation to contribute towards uplifting and healing those who were unjustly punished by prohibition. That’s non-negotiable, period.”

How much should everyone give back? “Business leaders should give ten percent of profits and consumers should give ten percent of their annual weed spend. That would make substantial impact. But, at the very least, it has to be more than zero,” offers Zaytsev.


Cannabis Industry Leaders who will be in attendance at High NY’s Cannabis Business Soiree on March 21st, 2019 include:


  • Geoff Pope, Vice President at Aon, a global insurance company. He has industry-leading expertise in the financial and healthcare industries, including cannabis risk. Former NFL player and 2012 Super Bowl champion.
  • Bridget Hill-Zayat, attorney with the Hoban Law Group and law professor. She regularly testifies for states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, exploring the creation and development of legal cannabis markets.
  • Marcus Glover, Private Investor & Board Member of Defy Ventures. He is a successful marketing executive and entrepreneur who has has engineered collaborations between major brands and celebrities like Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z, will.i.am, and Lil Wayne.
  • Christine Ianuzzi, Managing Partner and Show Director for the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expositions.
  • Robert Bernstein, Partner at Grassi & Co. Robert helps companies navigate the tax, accounting, and regulatory challenges of the cannabis industry. Robert works with vertically integrated cannabis companies; multi state operators; cannabis technology companies, cannabis landowners, as well as investors in the cannabis space.
  • Members of Governor Cuomo’s staff who were responsible for drafting the Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act (CRTA) have been invited, but have not yet confirmed their attendance.


About High NY

High NY is one of the world’s largest Cannabis Meetup groups and the highest Cannabis community in NYC. Since 2014, High NY Cannabis events and NYC marijuana meetups have connected and educated thousands of New York’s Cannabis community members. High NY events are the go-to source for Cannabis education, grassroots community engagement, and business networking in New York City.

About Michael Zaytsev

A pioneer and influencer of modern Cannabis culture, Michael Zaytsev is an award winning entrepreneur, Cannabis Business Coach, and author of “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Cannabis.” He’s the Founder of High NY and the New York City Cannabis Film Festival.

An in-depth bio can be found here.

About The Jue Lan Club

The Jue Lan club is at the site of the former (and notorious) Limelight Club. Situated inside a former church, the thrilling, mystical, gothic revival building is now an upscale Chinese restaurant and events venue. “Jue Lan” means “determination to create change.” Located at 49 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011.


Michael Zaytsev
High NY
mike@highny.org