By Lisa Marie
Back in 1970, when the first official Pride marches were being held in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, the focus was on commemorating the Stonewall Uprising and rallying for equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people. At that time, living authentically in public spaces, even those designated for queer people, was considered a crime.
Fast forward 30 plus years– the LGBTQIA+ community continues to face the same struggles from the Stonewall days, along with even more oppressive legislation being introduced and passed in states all across America. Given the current climate, Pride month should be a time for people to show support, gain more knowledge, and shine a light on the issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.
In recent years, the original focus of Pride Month seems to have drifted, especially when it comes to Corporate America. Pride Month has been used by some large corporations and businesses as more of a money grab than a way to support folks from underrepresented or marginalized groups.
Here at Raquel’s Room, we actively support inclusivity and embrace the rebellious spirit and purpose of Pride, particularly in the cannabis space. Check out our list of some smaller, up and coming LGBTQIA+ brands and businesses to support during Pride Month.
Queer Owned Cannabis Lifestyle Brands
Looking for a low key, high style way to show your love for all things cannabis? Say hello to Ken Ahbus– the lit AF alter ego of Mary Jane. Ken Ahbus is owned and operated by Sara Gluck, a NY based cannabis entrepreneur, writer, and aspiring stand up comic. Ken Ahbus is a go-to brand for cannabis enthusiasts who don’t vibe with the stoner stereotypes. At Ken Ahbus, the designs are clean and classic (no played out pot leaves or clichéd tie dye, ever).
As a queer and Jewish woman working in the Cannabis space, Sara knows a thing or 2 about representing and supporting traditionally marginalized groups. She has even partnered with Spectrum Designs, a company that employs folks with autism, to create the printed clothing items sold by Ken Ahbus. When you make a Pride Month purchase from Ken Ahbus, you know your money is well spent.
MaryJae is a cannabis lifestyle brand for people who live life authentically and unapologetically. What began as a tribute to Jae Graham’s father who passed from a terminal illness eventually became a unique and inclusive dispensary catering to the community of Austin, Texas and beyond.
Folks who live near the Austin location can join the MaryJae Social Club for access to inclusive, Canna forward events and meetups. From a chill, midweek “Flower Hour” group sesh to elevated yoga and rolling classes, MaryJae offers a safe space experience for cannabis consumers who value quality and inclusivity.
Don’t live in or near Austin? The online shop for MaryJae has you covered. You can find functional and fun merch hand selected by Jae Graham and her team, as well as responsibly sourced edibles and flower created exclusively for MaryJae. Shopping at MaryJae is a great way to support an LGBTQIA+ business that serves an underrepresented community in a conservative state like Texas.
POC and LGBTQIA+ Owned Cannabis Businesses
Named for the Greek phrase meaning “beautiful thinking,” Unoia is a CBD company created by Danielle Gray and Brandé Elise to offer products that focus on self-care and mindful consumption. Unoia provides an array of high quality CBD products for people as well as pets.
The unique CBD products offered by Unoia ranging from pain relieving roll ons, tinctures, and gummies can be purchased in-store in Atlanta, GA, or in their online shop. Lab test results and product recommendations for specific health issues are posted on the Unoia site to take the guesswork out of shopping. They even offer a short quiz on their instagram site, WorldofUnoia, as well as a free CBD usage guide to download to determine if CBD products fit your wellness needs.
There’s no denying that candles and Cannabis are a killer combo. Alex and Amanda Walker created The Lovely Haze by joining their love of plant medicine with their fondness for the ritual of smoking that’s represented by lighting candles.
Candles made by The Lovely Haze are tailor made for cannabis connoisseurs. They feature terpenes– the naturally occurring compounds that give cannabis strains their unique scent. For folks looking for relaxation vibes, The No. 1 is a great option. It’s made with Myrcene, a terpene some consider to offer relief from inflammation. For people more interested in enhancing energizing feelings, the limonene in No. 3 is a perfect fit.
In addition to the Terpene and Signature Candle Collections, The Lovely Haze offers a rechargeable eco-friendly lighter, as well as a candle care kit to extend the life of their candles and enhance the user experience.
Check out co-founder Alex’s favorite myrcene-heavy Ganja Flower+Tobacco Leaf candle, which is available for purchase here.
Cannabis Businesses That Support the LGBTQIA+ Community
Housing Works Cannabis Co. is a New York dispensary born as a result of the hard work and dedication of activists from ACT UP, also known as AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power. Back in 1990, Housing Works was created with a goal of providing housing opportunities for New York’s overlooked and underserved population of homeless people and families impacted by HIV/AIDS, many of whom were members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
When Housing Works began, the projects and programs they offered to the community were funded by money raised from sales at their NY thrift shops, coffee shop, and bookstore. While the shops are still open and operational, Housing Works has branched out to include Housing Works Cannabis Co. as well as an online thrift shop.
Housing Works Cannabis Co. is known as New York’s first dispensary. They offer a wide range of cannabis products in store, from edibles, tinctures, and flower to merch, as well as a home delivery option for the surrounding area. Since proceeds from Housing Works go directly to fund their ongoing programs designed for people living with HIV/AIDS, extending your cannabis budget a bit during Pride month is a win-win.
Although it is not a queer owned or operated company, Chill Pipes is taking the opportunity to show their allyship during Pride Month. Chill Pipes has created an innovative water pipe made of easy to clean stainless steel. The “chill” comes from its ability to hold ice for hours, giving consumers smooth, icy cold hits from morning into night (or vice versa).
With each purchase of their Rainbow Mirror Chill Pipe, the company will donate $25 to LGBTQIA+ non profit organizations. If you’re in the market for a Chill Pipe, there’s no better time to buy as this particular model is being offered nearly $50 off.
In 2022, proceeds from their Pride Month drop and collab with Proud Mary Network were donated to the Marsh P. Johnson Institute– an organization that is “…intended for the sole purpose of bettering the BLACK trans community across the diaspora.” A Pride month purchase from Chill Pipes will help them reach their goal of doubling the amount donated last year.
Now more than ever, the LGBTQIA+ community needs our support and solidarity. You can take a stand against the meaningless rainbow washing done by big corporations when you choose to shop from smaller, up and coming businesses that are actually run by queer people.
Whether you are an ally or a member of the community, seize the opportunity this June to be an advocate. Buy from queer owned cannabis businesses. When you support LGBTQIA+ business owners, you make a clear statement to big corporations everywhere– It takes a lot more than hanging a rainbow flag in a corporate office for a month to show Pride.