BY MARIE LODI
For the past several years, cannabis legalization in the United States has had an incredible journey with astounding progress, but we wouldn’t be where we are now if it wasn’t for LGBTQIA+ activists like Dennis Peron. The Vietnam War vet saw how cannabis greatly helped AIDS and cancer patients, and worked towards getting it legalized in the early '90s, and co-wrote the measure that legalized the medical use of cannabis in California. He also opened the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club, which was the country’s first public marijuana dispensary, along with his partner, John Entwistle, and fellow activist and LGBTQ ally, Mary Jane Rathbun, known to many as “Brownie Mary.”
Three decades after Peron’s work began, we now have many queer-owned cannabis brands and figures continuing to further the movement. To celebrate Pride Month, we’re highlighting LGBTQIA+-owned cannabis companies who are helping to educate others about the healing benefits of cannabis. From CBD skincare to aesthetically stunning pre-rolls, read on to learn about 13 LGBTQIA+-owned cannabis brands you can support this month and beyond.
Since launching in 2019, the queer-owned, cannabis beverage brand Cann has become a key figure in the industry. Founded by Jake Bullock and Luke Anderson, Cann is touted as an alcohol alternative and has become known for its inventive flavor combinations, such as blood orange cardamom, cranberry sage, and ginger lemongrass. For Pride month, Cann teamed up with drag queen icons Symone, Gigi Goode, and Rosy Thorn for a glamorous campaign that brings ‘90s Versace ads to mind.
Drew Martin, a James Beard award-winning mixologist, launched his eponymous pre-roll brand in 2020, inspired by his interest in herbalism and world travels. Sun-grown flower from Mendocino county are combined with aromatic botanicals that result in irresistible flavor profiles and beautiful packaging. The pre-rolls also have lower THC content than typical joints, which is great for those who prefer a lighter buzz.
Partners Faun Chapin and M. Paradise are behind Sonder, the innovative cannabis brand that recently launched their Pop Rocks-like Space Crystals, that delightfully function as both a sublingual and an edible. For Pride, Sonder is debuting its fourth Space Crystals flavor, called Cheers Queers, and is also partnering with Drew Martin and CANN on a themed bundle.
Madame Munchie is a woman and LGBTQ-owned edibles company based in LA that offers everything from macarons, madeleines, and peanut butter. Growing up in France, founder Kim Geraghty developed her love for French pastries, which ultimately led to her launching the brand in 2014. Since then, Madame Munchie has gone on to win several Cannabis Cup awards.
Unoia is a CBD lifestyle and product brand owned by Brandé Elise and Danielle Gray, a Black, queer couple from Atlanta. Unoia offers a wide range of CBD products, including gummies, tinctures, honey, topicals, and products for pets—Elise was inspired to start the brand after she used CBD to treat her sick pup.
The QPOC–owned cannabis brand, Calexo, uses all-natural juices, botanicals, nano-emulsified THC, and sparkling water to make its delectable beverages. It currently has two flavor offerings, Citrus Rose and Cucumber Citron.
Partners Kate Black and Katie Stem founded Peak Extracts in 2014, but Stem had already been using cannabis to control her Crohn’s disease symptoms for nearly a decade. The brand, which is based in Portland, specializes in CO2 extracts, tinctures, medicated topicals, and cannabis-infused chocolates, as well as CBD.
Recreate makes gummies, chocolate, and tinctures that combine THC, CBD and Ayurvedic botanicals and adaptogens like turmeric, lemon balm, and lion’s mane for optimal wellness. The brand was founded by the Stanley Brothers, who were also behind the iconic Charlotte’s Web. One of the brothers, Austin Stanley, is a proud voice in the queer community. For June, ReCreate is releasing a limited-edition collection of Pride gummies and beverages and will also be donating $1 per Pride product to One Colorado and Equality California, two local nonprofit partner organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ civil rights advocacy.
Aplós, the first mixologist-crafted, non-alcoholic spirit brand, features 20mg of broad-spectrum hemp per serving. Co-founded by CEO David Fudge, who is openly gay, Aplós was designed to replicate the ritual of drinking a cocktail, without the alcoholic hangover.
Blunt, a CBD skin care brand, was created by cosmetic chemist Stas Chirkov. Its mission is to educate beauty lovers about the skin-enhancing benefits of cannabis-derived ingredients. For the month of Pride, Blunt is donating 50 percent of its sales to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute.
Founded by queer sustainable farmer Lex Corwin, Stone Road offers premium flower and pre-rolls harvested from a small farm in Northern California. The brand is committed to creating affordable and accessible cannabis for every type of smoker. For Pride Month, Stone Road will be donating 10 percent of all profits to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund.
The Latinx and Black female-founded CBD brand (co-founder Karina Primelles identifies as queer) uses the transformative power of herbs to help people dealing with symptoms of menstruation, anxiety, menopause, PMS, and insomnia. Xula’s product offerings include tinctures and balms.
Launched in 2019, this queer-owned brand was created as way for millennial women to enjoy wine without the booze. The brand specializes in cannabis-infused wines, such as Saka Pink, which is a rosé, and Saka White, a chardonnay-inspired white wine.
Marie Lodi is an LA-based writer, editor, and podcaster. Her bylines have appeared in The Cut, PAPER, Buzzfeed News, Bustle, Fashionista, Allure, and more.