LGBTQ+ Pride Month is celebrated every June to honor
the Stonewall Uprising – the series of events between the LGBTQ+ community and
police that started on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, New York City, and
lasted for a few days. According to the Library of Congress, the Stonewall
Uprising was a tipping point for the gay liberation movement in the US.
The new interview project “Pride and
Cannabis” by AskGrowers was dedicated to Pride Month. However, the project will be
replenished with new interviews throughout the year. In other words, it is not
only for a time of Pride Month.
The importance of the LGBTQ+ community for the cannabis
Over the years, the LGBTQ+ movement and the marijuana movement have crossed in many different ways. The entire industry owes a big thank you to the LGBTQ+ community as gay people helped legalize marijuana.
Some of the earliest marijuana triumphs were led by
people from the LGBTQ + community. The ties between LGBTQ+ rights and cannabis
legalization go all the way back to the 80s and 90s and the AIDS epidemic.
During those years, the AIDS infection rate went through the ceiling. At the
same time, treatment research slowed down. The entire situation motivated AIDS
patients and advocates to start the fight for medical marijuana.
Honor those who made it all possible
One of the most celebrated gay cannabis activists was Dennis Peron. He was one of the people fighting to legalize marijuana even before the AIDS epidemic. But, when the epidemic hit the community the way it did, Peron decided to go all in. He opened a Cannabis Buyers Club that allowed people with AIDS and other health issues to buy marijuana. It helped them to mitigate nausea, pain, anxiety, depression, and more. In addition to all the efforts, he was a co-author on Proposition 215 – the Medical Marijuana Initiative that legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes in California.
“I think that LGBTQ+ people and allies just need to
continue stepping up and have already done a fantastic job. Change is happening.
It’s amazing to live in a part of the planet where we can be celebrated and
have equal rights. It’s also important to know the history of legal cannabis,
for example, Dennis Person’s legacy, and honor those who came before us and
made it all possible”, Kim Geraghty, the founder and CEO of Madame Munchie,
A lot of space for improvements
The situation around the fair treatment of LGBTQ+ people in the marijuana society is still not good. However, there are some positive changes. People in the cannabis society need to become aware that marijuana wouldn’t be legal without all the hard work and efforts of LGBTQ+ activists. With that being said, queer tolerance in the cannabis industry needs to level up.
“The LGBTQ+ space is important in our industry. Gay men
legalized cannabis. Gay men died, and today, that should be a big part of the
conversation. I use my platform to educate, especially the younger generation
who might not have a clue as to why gay weed matters.”, Buck Angel, a trans
activist, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, told AskGrowers.
Another very noticeable thing is the fact there are not
many LGBTQ + people in the industry.
“If you look at how gay men have been treated by their
straight counterparts, and then you add the way I see some people treat their
gay customers, it’s not encouraging for them to ether shop often or even
consider entering the industry. I personally only became a processor out of
pure personal necessity. The industry as a whole lacks women as well as LGBTQ+
people, and it’s going to take a cultural shift to see any kind of real
change.”, Robert Miller, owner, and CEO of Purefectionery, said in an interview
Industry representatives share their thoughts and ideas
Many industry representatives have ideas on what could
be done to see a more significant LGBTQ+ representation in the cannabis
“Support companies that employ queer people and support
the community,” said Alex Corvin, CEO, and founder of Stone Road.
“From a support standpoint, there could be efforts to
lobby for revenue from cannabis taxes to be directed towards organizations that
provide support for the gay community. With respect to representation in
ownership, there could be efforts to include LGBTQ+ identification as a factor
in consideration for social equity applications. From a structural
inclusiveness standpoint, the industry could lobby for employment initiatives
that include having LGBTQ+ employees be a certain portion of the workforce,”
Bradon Dorsku, CEO of Fruit Slabs, told AskGrowers.
While going into the future and making it as
bright as possible, it is essential not to forget those who made it all
possible and who fought for legalization in the first place. They are a big
part of the past, the present, and the future.