The month of June has always been considered a momentous time in history for the LGBTQIA+ community. After all, there is a deep connection between the LGBTQIA+ community and the cannabis industry from many years ago. Because of this, it is quite easy to see why numerous cannabis companies are keen on getting in on the hype surrounding LGBTQIA+ Pride.
It is important to emphasize that both the cannabis and the queer community have struggled in their fight for legalization and to gain respect from people and various sectors of society. For the longest time, both of these sectors have been marginalized by society and have had difficulty gaining acceptance.
Thankfully, members of this community have rallied to advance not only queer rights, but also contributed to the recognition and legalizations of cannabis in various states in the country today. Many personalities and icons in the queer community even took part in showing their support for cannabis.
With Pride Month being a vital time in history and in the world of marijuana, it is important to see the connection between the cannabis industry and the queer community. Doing so allows companies and consumers alike to look beyond strategies approaches that put rainbow labels on marijuana products as marketing tactics.
Relationship of Cannabis and the LGBTQIA+ Community
Battling the HIV/AIDS Crisis
One of the major drivers and players that contributed to the legalization of medical marijuana in the industry can be owed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic that hit the United States. At the center of all of this is no other than Dennis Peron, the gay man who fought to establish the first medical marijuana dispensary throughout the whole country.
Peron was dubbed as the godfather of the legal cannabis movement as Rolling Stone calls it, and the father of medical marijuana, and rightly so. Prior to helping Proposition P and the 1996 passage of Proposition 215 be recognized and approved, Peron pushed for San Francisco to allow medical marijuana, especially as the crisis took over the city and took the life of his partner, Jonathan West.
At the time where HIV/AIDS was rampant, it deeply affected the Castro community. Despite treatments being available, these were considered more harmful and toxic than the disease itself. In attempts to alleviate pain and deal with the effects of the epidemic, many gay men during that time turned to use marijuana to address their conditions and try to save their lives in return. Many were reportedly using the drug not only to suppress their nausea, but also to gain back the weight and stay alive.
Rallying for Cannabis Legalization
As previously mentioned, there is a long-standing history of queer involvement and activism with the marijuana movement. Without the LGBTQIA+ community, the recognition, legalization, and even decriminalization of cannabis would not have been possible.
Alongside Peron was Harvey Milk, an openly gay City Supervisor who made waves in the United States as he became the first-ever openly gay man to be elected in office. Just like Peron, Milk also made significant contributions to the cannabis community by urged law enforcement agencies to stop the arrests and prosecutions of individuals who were found to grow, possess, and distribute marijuana.
Through the rallying of Milk and Peron, as well as the establishment of two ballot initiatives under Propositions P and 215, medical marijuana was finally made widely accessible in the state of California. They were able to cater to thousands of clients prior to being shut down by a San Francisco Superior Court judge in 1998.
It goes without saying that both queer identities and cannabis use were looked down upon in society, making these movements share anti-establishment roots. Thanks to the strides made by the community and the movement, both the role of queer people, as well as cannabis users and benefits, continued to grow as well.
Cannabis Consumption and the LGBTQIA+ Community
According to High Times, there are studies that show that cannabis use is higher among those in the queer community as compared to heterosexuals. This can be owed to the oppression and mental, as well as physical struggles, that queer folks have had to deal with at such a young age.
Having been ostracized at a younger age compared to heterosexuals, queer people may be prone to feelings of stress and anxiety, something which cannabis can alleviate.
Besides this, the higher number of cannabis users among sexual minority adults are also in conjunction with the higher number of cases that LGBTQIA+ people experience, may it be anxiety, eating disorders, depression, homelessness, physical, mental, and or emotional pain, as well as suicidal thoughts due to being ostracized by dominant sectors of society.
More than being used to deal with oppression, as well as a plethora of other factors, cannabis now continues to be a growing part of the queer social life and lifestyle. The usage of this drug entails living a life that defies the strict and black and white rules of society, and by extension, the movement against conventional and conservative social norms. Today, marijuana is starting to regain control of its narrative and instead, be used more for socialization and bonding contexts, as well as fostering a sense of intimacy with friends and partners.
Cannabis Culture Icons in the Queer Community
With the prevalence of the LGBTQIA+ community in the fight towards legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana, it cannot be denied that the two sectors remain to be interconnected and even overlapping with each other. After all, as the fight continued to evolve over time, the role of cannabis expanded as well, creating a specific niche in various markets, including icons in the community.
It is apparent that this RuPaul’s Drag Race alum is dedicated to her use and support of cannabis, which is why she chose to honor and highlight it through her chosen name. Through her platform, this star aims to battle homophobia as well as cannabis shaming by raising more awareness about what this plant has to offer, such as its healing benefits.
Laganja has her own podcast where she tackles such difficult topics. In an interview with Rolling Stone, the star admits to having PTSD after her stint on RuPaul’s Drag Race and cannabis was a big proponent towards her healing journey.
Apart from her aforementioned achievements, Laganja was also considered the first LGBTQIA+ advocate and drag queen to be placed on the cover of a cannabis magazine.
Aside from being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community herself, Lady Gaga is also a queer icon in her own right after her Born This Way album paved the way for queer music and performances to take center stage, being embraced by people all over the world.
Mother monster is a queer proponent of marijuana use, especially after being diagnosed with a condition called fibromyalgia and one which includes chronic pain, fatigue, muscle spasms, and more. While the artist has never actually been vocal about her use of marijuana, Lady Gaga was seen smoking a number of joints on camera for her documentary called Five Foot Two.
A legend in the soccer community, Megan Rapinoe is no stranger to the limelight, especially after having scored multiple wins under her belt and being an Olympic gold medalist, a two-time Women’s World Cup Champion, 2019 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and more. This queer member is also an activist for women’s rights, the LGBTQIA+ community, human rights, and many others.
Rapinoe has worked with a CBD sports recovery brand, Mendi, which is also owned by her sister, Rachael Rapinoe, another soccer athlete. Megan has reportedly been a fan of Mendi’s CBD products as these helped her heal and deal with pain, something that is greatly common with other athletes as well.
As she gets further involved with Mendi, Megan looks to further use her platform to educate and raise awareness regarding cannabis, as well as fight to legalize CBD use. Together with the company, the soccer star aims to allocate a percentage of sales to help communities and individuals affected by the drug war.
Cannabis Strains to Explore for Pride Month
Thanks to the efforts and lengths that the LGBTQIA+ community had taken, cannabis continues to find its presence in the mainstream culture. As a matter of fact, more and more companies now have marijuana products to thank for their flourishing businesses.
For those who are looking to try cannabis strains to celebrate Pride Month this 2021, below are some suggestions that can help get the party started and help remind you of what the month truly represents.
Alien OG strain might sound like it is out of this world, and it is, as it promotes feelings of euphoria and happiness from the onset, something which can greatly boost one’s physical and mental state.
This cannabis strain is made from an indica-dominant hybrid and has a high potency level of THC ranging from 20% to a whopping 28%, thus the name Alien OG. It offers users a “soaring psychedelic high,” alongside cerebral stimulation and bodily relaxation, states WikiLeaf.
The flavors of the Alien OG strain are quite citrusy and sweet, with hints of lemon coming up every so often. At times, there are also notes of fresh pine and earth, lending a more ‘grounded’ feel to it. However, smoking this can be quite the experience, especially as it leaves an ammonia-like scent behind.
Because of its potency, consuming Alien OG in small amounts is the way to go. It is best for individuals who are looking to melt away their stress and anxiety and who are generally up for a relaxing time.
Ice Cream Cake
There is no better way to celebrate Pride Month than with a sweet and creamy flavor that can be found in no other than this Ice Cream Cake strain. Ideal for bringing the joys of childhood back, this strain is best for small, intimate gatherings with your closest friends. Not only does it melt away stress and anxiety, but it also uplifts the mood.
While many individuals think of this strain as the perfect pick me up after a long day, this actually does the opposite of getting a person high. Instead, it moves users into a more relaxed state, allowing them to rest their weary hearts and minds. It is great for dealing with insomnia, migraine, muscle cramps and soreness, and more.
Ice Cream Cake gives a THC potency of up to 25% at the very most. This has sweet and creamy flavors that will tickle just about anyone’s tastebuds.
From its name alone, one can expect this strain to bring a punch with every use. Having originated in Hawaii, this strain manages to perfectly capture what the island life is all about – sweet, tropical, and refreshing in every sense of the word.
It comes with a tropical citrus flavor, with notes of lemon, pineapple, and melon, all of which greatly contribute to the experience of smoking these, bringing users to the beautiful island of Hawaii with every smoke. Even its aroma smells of the island, with the strain producing a clean and fresh scent.
The THC content of the Hawaiian Punch strain can go as much from 15% to 25%. This means that it can give a long-lasting high and one that hits users right away with its potent sativa energy. It brings euphoric effects and ideal for treating nausea.
Cannabis is central to queer culture. The community has paved the way for the legalization of the drug, and by extension, allowed its acceptance to be extended to the LGBTQIA+ community as well. In the end, the intertwined stories of marijuana use and acceptance are both reflective of the struggles and eventual triumphs that the two sectors have experienced over time.
Though there is still a long way to go, especially in furthering the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in the United States, this Pride Month is certainly the time to focus on the little victories that LGBTQIA+ activists have managed to achieve for the greater good.