It’s easy to assume that cities like Los Angeles, Denver, and Seattle—all located in weed-legal states—have an exclusive lock on the cannabis party and events scene. But a handful of dedicated cannabis pioneers are working hard to ensure that New York City holds its own—despite the lack of legal marijuana in New York state.
This summer marked the sixth annual Float On One of a Kind Yacht Party. With a larger attendance than ever before and high-end production including a huge lineup of cannabis and cannabis products, this weed-themed yacht party is both one of NYC’s best-kept secrets and one of the strongest indicators of the vibrancy of the city’s underground cannabis scene.
Float On One of a Kind Yacht Party: NYC’s Summer Weed Tradition
The Float On One of a Kind Yacht Party first launched in the summer of 2014. Since then, the party has taken place every summer without interruption. Now six years in, the event has attracted a loyal base of return partiers—many of whom mark the cruise on their calendars years in advance—with more and more new people attending every summer.
This year’s yacht party started on Manhattan’s lower east side, cruised down the East River, and settled into the bay for a nighttime view of the skyline before eventually heading back into the city.
Levi Autumn/ New Void City
Along the way, partiers had access to three decks of cannabis celebration. This included a multiple course marijuana-infused dinner and snacks (non-infused options too), flowers, pre-rolled joints, vape pens, dabs, CBD products, a full-service bar, dance floor, and plenty of outdoor space to vibe out. Additionally, medical marijuana company PrestoDoctor was on board to help connect New York patients to cannabis-friendly physicians.
Celebrating the Diversity of Cannabis
According to event organizers, one of the main objectives of the annual party is to highlight and celebrate the diversity of the cannabis plant and the broader culture surrounding cannabis.
“We really believe this is a safe medium,” event organizer Kiki told High Times. “We talk about how the plant is medicinal and recreational—and it is both of those. But it’s also social, spiritual, and historically this has always been part of community. We feel it’s very important to bring that back to the plant.”
This commitment to honoring all facets of cannabis was evident throughout the party. Alongside the wide selection of flower and concentrates, the party also included a full menu of handmade, healthy infused foods and snacks described by organizers as a “deconstructed school lunch.”
“We want people to understand the diversity of cannabis food, of eating edibles,” said Kiki, who masterminded the night’s menu. “So we made food that takes you back. Everything was made from scratch using infused oil. And we also always offer gluten-free and vegan foods. We want people to know you don’t have to just eat brownies.”
Levi Autumn/ New Void City
Ultimately, Float On’s celebration of cannabis extended beyond consumption. The party was also a celebration of cannabis culture and the culture’s ability to bridge social and political gaps.
“It’s all about the culture. We very much believe there’s no shame in cannabis,” Kiki told High Times. “We’re trying to foster a space where people are comfortable, where people can talk to each other. Every year, it seems like everyone on the boat bonds. Once the ride gets going people just start talking and connecting. A lot of people say they’ve never had that kind of experience before.”
Float On and the Law
One of the big questions organizers often hear is how the yacht party functions each year without running into legal problems. The answer: they simply take the risk.
“You’re not in city limits so to speak, and it’s decriminalized. But you could still get arrested—that’s up to the discretion of law enforcement officers,” Kiki told High Times. “So there is a level of risk, but we’re doing this because we want to push the culture forward. We want to communicate to New York that this is important. We need to have this.”
In many ways, the organizers of Float On embrace the risk, turning it into an opportunity to educate and advocate.
Jacob Plowden/ New Void City
A subtle focus on socially responsible legalization was seamlessly woven into the party atmosphere. Organizers provided literature about the harms caused by the War on Drugs, the need for equitable and effective legalization, and information for ways to get involved with advocacy efforts.
“This is the largest cannabis market in the world. Why don’t we have legalization? Why don’t we have consumption spaces?” Kiki told High Times. “We realized we have to be the responsible ones before legislation comes in and regulates what we have to do. So if we can establish the model about what a safe consumption space looks like ahead of lawmakers, then let’s do it. Legislation needs to catch up to us.”