There is no denying that the LGBTQ and marijuana communities have some form of connection. In fact, the two have strongly significant relations.
The best way to start tackling the contributions of the LGBTQ and marijuana communities is by introducing Dennis Peron. A member of the LGBTQ himself, Peron is known as one of the first advocates of medical marijuana legalization in the United States. He started pushing for legalization as his partner died of AIDS.
With Propositions P and 215, two ballot initiatives that advocated for medical legalization, MMJ was made accessible in California in 1996. He also established the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, which is the first public dispensary in the country.
He also worked with LGBTQ hero Harvey Milk to stop San Francisco from arresting and prosecuting individuals who are found growing, distributing and possessing marijuana.
LGBTQ Cannabis Entrepreneurs
With such intertwined histories, the two communities remain to be related until today. In fact, some LGBTQ members are making contributions to the marijuana sector today by way of entrepreneurship. Check out these LGBTQ cannabis entrepreneurs.
Adult film star and transman Buck Angel decided to enter the legal cannabis market with Pride Wellness, a dispensary that sells marijuana products with the LGBTQ community in mind. The dispensary became an avenue for Angel to talk about their stories and to educate people about the plant. It also has a delivery service that operates in Los Angeles.
Growing up lesbian, Angel found comfort in the company of gay men. He felt accepted and at home with them, which no doubt influenced his decision to help the LGBTQ community in the best way he can. He decided to venture into the industry especially after seeing his friends suffer from AIDS symptoms.
This delivery division employs people from marginalized groups. The service has drivers who are queer and people of color. Aside from Pride Wellness, Angel works with brands such as Quim Rock with the same goals in mind.
Renee Gagnon is a transwoman and founder of HollyWeed, a Canada-based marijuana dispensary. Before establishing HollyWeed, she founded Thunderbird Biomedical (called Emerald Health Therapeutics later on), which is one of the four companies that participated in Canada’s medical cannabis research and development initiative.
However, there were concerns at Emerald regarding her transition affecting the desirability of the company in the eyes of potential investors. Because of this, she stepped down from her position and chose to mentor female entrepreneurs in the sector. She went on to establish HollyWeed.
Queer entrepreneur Jamie McCormick is also thriving in the marijuana sector. Also known as Flower Daddy, McCormick works as a florist and event planner who gives his events a twist. He incorporates cannabis in his work, from placing the plant in his flower arrangements to arranging a wedding complete with a marijuana bar which offered a rolling area, infused edibles, chocolate fountain, and a CBD station.
Through his work, he aims to break down stereotypes regarding enthusiasts. In fact, some of his clients even replace the traditional first toast to a more theme-appropriate first toke. His events remain elegant but more spontaneous, thanks to the plant.
To expand his business, he worked to establish his very own retail florist shop in LA.
Lastly, cannabis chef and lesbian woman of color Zairilla Bacon is making waves in the industry. As a queer woman of color, Bacon has experienced discrimination when finding clients for her cooking business. In fact, one client who was highly impressed by her reputation turned her down because of her identity.
However, she finds the landscape much easier to navigate today, especially with the public becoming more open-minded. Bacon now cooks for popular celebrities such as Mike Tyson, 2 Chainz and Tommy Chong. She also sees to it that her fellow people of color and members of the community get the help they need.
Ways to Support the Marijuana Industry
Knowing how the LGBTQ community has contributed to the emergence of the marijuana legalization we know today is pretty enlightening. If you are looking for ways to show your support to the cannabis community, here are the best ways that you can do so:
Only Buy from Legit Dispensaries
One of the main things that shed a negative light on the plant is underground selling. Black market product only paints the plant as an illicit substance, even when we now have legal stores which you can buy from. So, it is important to make it a point that you buy your supply only from legitimate retailers. This way, you can guarantee that the product complies with safety and health regulations, while also supporting the legal marijuana industry.
In connection with this, buying from legitimate dispensaries contribute to the strengthening of the market. Remember, investors seek to make money when they invest in any kind of market. By purchasing from legal retailers, you are showing investors that the industry is a viable and profitable investment. This can make the industry flourish even more in the future.
Aside from black market products, another source of the negative reputation of the plant is irresponsible to use. While marijuana has a whole lot of benefits, it can react negatively with other substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs such as LSD, heroin, and cocaine.
According to studies, mixing alcohol and THC will intensify the hallucinatory effect of the plant. This is because the liver prioritizes the metabolization of alcohol, leading to the accumulation of THC before it can be processed. The increased effect can cause impaired judgment which can then lead to dangerous situations. Other potential effects include dehydration, issues with vomiting and increased side effects.
For your safety and those of other people around you, make sure that you consume the plant responsibly. This can help not only in reducing unfortunate incidents but also in building the reputation of cannabis is a beneficial plant.
Seek Out Passionate Establishments
If you advocate for anything, you only seek out sources that also support your causes. For example, environment-advocates only patronize companies that take steps to become environment-friendly. The same goes for advocates of animal welfare, education and equality.
So, if you are looking for a place that will replenish your cannabis supply, you might want to look for a passionate dispensary. Of course, most of these establishments are passionate about the plant, so that is definitely a plus. However, it is no secret that some can take advantage of its popularity just to make money without recognizing the roots of the plant. This is why it is important to look for companies that truly adore marijuana including its benefits and history.
Advocate for Legalization
What better way to show your support for the industry than to advocate for its legalization? After all, we now have access to medical and recreational marijuana because of the people who fought for its legalization. Unfortunately, years and years of prejudice against the plant has been inculcated in the public’s consciousness.
This is why it is all the more important to show your support for cannabis. There are many ways you can advocate for the plant. Simply recommending CBD oil and other cannabis-infused products to your friends and family can be a huge help. Moreover, voting for legalization is instrumental. After all, some states have legalized the plant through ballot initiatives.
While you may understand the benefits of this plant, there is no doubt that many individuals have misconceptions regarding cannabis. The best way to address such myths is to dispel them. So, why not educate your friend about the medical uses of cannabis?
Even for recreational purposes, the plant is proven to be useful. You can also inform them of the benefits of CBD even to everyday life. Who knows, you might end up turning them into advocates, increasing the number of individuals supporting the plant! Moreover, you will surely change their life simply by introducing them to its wonders.
Uphold Cannabis Values
In supporting the marijuana community, another important thing you should remember is that many enthusiasts are known to be peace-loving and very chill individuals. In fact, the hippie counterculture in the 1960s is known for its slogan, “Make Love Not War.” The Psychedelic 60s and 70s is teeming with calls for peace, love, freedom, and equality.
With these values closely linked to the cannabis community, it is important that we uphold such values, especially in light of the connection between the two communities.
Just like Taylor Swift sang, “Shade never made anybody less gay,” or in this case, it never made anybody less enthusiastic about cannabis. In fact, the years of marijuana prohibition only resulted in a stronger push toward legalization.
With the successful businesses and contributions of the LGBTQ community to the cannabis industry, marijuana enthusiasts certainly have an ally in these people. Likewise, the cannabis industry is opening up to queer individuals showing how intertwined the two communities are.