BY KASEY NOSS | Soho frequenters might recognize The House of Cannabis, located on Broadway between Howard and Canal Streets, for its four stories of arched windows that light up its facade a brilliant lime green at night. The top floor, however, glowed a warmer hue on a recent Friday evening. It was for the celebration of the museum’s inaugural “The Roll-Up,” a social event and “joint-rolling master class” presented in collaboration with New York social-media star Joel “40oz Van” Fuller.
The event was the first of its kind thrown by The House of Cannabis, also known as THC NYC, self-described as the “first-ever immersive destination exploring the sights, scents, sounds, and stories of cannabis.” The 30,000-square-foot venue, which sports 10 unique rooms, was founded by Robert and Marcelle Frey.
Since the venture opened in April, right in time to celebrate 4.20, it’s become a hub for all things cannabis — learning about its history and culture, even scoring cannabis-themed merch. With “The Roll-Up,” THC NYC can finally add smoking it to the list.
“Roll up your sleeves and join us for an evening of elevated artistry as we present ‘The Roll-Up,’ read the event’s flier. Though the event was simply advertised as a “monthly joint-rolling series,” the reality of it was much more akin to the coffee houses of Amsterdam or the cannabis lounges of San Francisco and L.A.
According to Fuller, a Bronx native, the series aims to bring the cannabis culture of the aforementioned places to New York City, which he dubbed the “Wild, Wild West of cannabis.”
“It’s kind of equivalent to how people transitioned out of the speakeasy times,” he said, referencing marijuana’s relatively recent legalization in New York State in March 2021. According to Fuller, 250 people registered for the event, far exceeding organizers’ initial expectations.
For Fuller, the “The Roll-Up,” and The House of Cannabis in general, are about more than entertainment — though they certainly check that box. In them, Fuller sees an opportunity to both destigmatize cannabis and raise awareness about its past: Though it’s legal now, the legacy of weed’s criminalization remains potent for the hundreds of thousands of individuals arrested over the years for possession alone.
“It’s important because a lot of people went to jail for this,” Fuller said. “We have this cool event, but, at the same time, there’s an educational purpose behind it. It’s not only a place to come and get high.”
The House of Cannabis is not an officially state-licensed cannabis dispensary or cannabis consumption lounge — though the Freys are hoping it can become the latter. Its top-floor space currently can be used for private events.
There was certainly no stigma against cannabis at “The Roll-Up” event. Attendees received complimentary flower as they stepped out of the elevator into the spacious lounge, arrayed with all kinds of swanky couches, loveseats and upholstered stools. The $40 admission ticket came with all the rolling essentials, including rolling papers, pre-rolls, grinders and lighters, which were scattered generously about the room.
The bar served complimentary cannabis cocktails from Charleston, S.C.,-based company Levity Cannabis Spirit and cans of ayrloom™ cannabis-infused seltzers. Later in the night, guests were invited to explore the museum after hours.
It’s no surprise visitors certainly seemed to enjoy it.
“This is a motherf—ing vibe,” said attendee Alice Barlow. “I think I’m definitely going to be coming back here.”
The House of Cannabis is open Wednesdays through Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To stay tuned for part two of “The Roll-Up,” visit thcnyc.com.