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WeedmapsNews Culture & industry

LGBTQ-owned brands to support year-round

Weedmaps News June 18, 2019   6:16 pm PDT | Updated 4 months ago

Pride shouldn't be limited to a single month — and neither should your cannabis use. Both should be supported, advocated for, and celebrated all year round. 

The queer community's involvement in cannabis dates back to the beginning of pot's long, strange trip towards legalization. In fact, the cannabis legalization movement in the United States owes its start to efforts from our LGBTQ foreparents during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and '90s. 

Thanks to the monumental activism efforts from California's LGBTQ communities, Proposition 215 passed in 1996, making it the first state to legalize medical marijuana in the country. The ground for today's burgeoning cannabis industry was laid in part by LGBTQ allies, HIV/AIDS patients, and gay rights advocates of the past.

While rainbow-themed products are cute, giving your precious consumer dollars to the companies who are owned by LGBTQ entrepreneurs year-round, instead of only during Pride month, is even cuter.  Support these cannabis brands founded by members of the LGBTQ community, whose history of tireless cannabis activism has allowed the existence of the legal market we so enjoy today. 

Sonder 

Sonder is a full-spectrum vape brand founded in 2017 by the wife-and-wife team, Faun Chapin and M. Paradise. Sonder grows the cannabis to make their high-quality cartridges on its family-run farm in Mendocino County. Both founders are successful graphic designers — Chapin holds an MFA in graphic design from Yale and grew up on an Emerald Triangle weed farm. She was taught to grow at an early age by her mother. 

Known for branding where bright colors and punchy graphics take a psychedelic riff on pop art, and their epic line of full-spectrum cartridges, Sonder delivers high-quality products that are an amalgamation of everything these cannabis entrepreneurs are passionate about. With Sonder, not only are you supporting an LGBTQ brand but a legacy of female growers. 


Calexo

With tart, citrusy flavors and a flirty aesthetic to match, the LGBTQ owned-and-operated cannabis beverage Calexo has effervesced its way into our hearts. Founded by Brandon and Ken, both of whom are working artists, Calexo was born from an at-home experiment that went totally right. What started as trying to find the perfect combination of citrus, bitters and weed tincture one night at a weed-sensitive family party, has fast become the cannabis beverage of Summer 2020, and a fabulous alternative to alcohol. 

Each 22oz bottle contains 10 milligrams of THC. Due to nano-emulsion technology, the high hits you within 15 minutes of consumption — a similar onset/offset to drinking. Available in Citrus Rose and Cucumber Citron, Calexo is a great addition to any party atmosphere, offering a delicious alternative for taking the edge off and remaining social. 


Madame Munchie 

Madame Munchie is a woman and LGBTQ owned-and-operated edible brand inspired by owner Kim Geraghty's experience growing up in France. Her handcrafted macarons and other French delicacies contain high-quality ingredients and their top-shelf flower grown at Geraghty's Mendocino Farm. 

While most famous for her macarons, which won Best Edible at the High Times Cup in 2014, Madame Munchie also offers a heavily dosed hazelnut spread and peanut butter, both with 100 milligrams of THC packed into less than 2oz. 

If you want to try the flower that goes into the edibles, they offer a line of pre-roll packs as well as individuals. Or, if you just want to get a tiny bit high, the particularly addicting pate de fruits will do the trick, 3.2 milligrams of THC at a time. 


Peak Extracts 

Founded in 2014, Peak Extracts is the first women-owned extraction company in Oregon. It entered the adult-use market beginning in 2016 to be among the first batch of legal licensed edibles processors. CEO Katie Stem and COO Katie Black are partners in business and life, working together for the last seven years. 

Peak Extracts produces chocolates, salves, cartridges and concentrates and is best known for its strain-specific product line. Aiming to treat an array of ailments, Stem learned the effects of many strains from a decade-plus as a medical patient using cannabis to help alleviate symptoms of Crohn's disease. 


Wings of Wellness

Wings of Wellness is a Southern California-based medical marijuana delivery service founded by Leon Mostovoy, a trans man and longtime LGBTQ activist. 

The company offers one of the most comprehensive lists of edibles and concentrates available for online delivery. You can order with them directly on Weedmaps and find brands like Stiiizy, Honeydew Farms, Heavy Hitters, Legacy, Plain Jane, Chong's Choice, and more, including Mostovoy's own cannabis company, Pride Wellness.


Pride Wellness

Based in Los Angeles and founded by Mostovoy and a fellow trans man and gay rights' activist Buck Angel, Pride Cannabis features a line of prerolls that do more than get you stoned. 

Since its 2016 founding, Pride Wellness has donated $1 from each purchase to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, which serves more people in the LGBTQ community than any other center in the world, according to the center's annual reports. 

Their donations focus specifically on LGBTQ seniors for the center, donating over $4,000 in 2019 alone, commemorated with a giant check handoff during L.A. Trans Pride Fest. 


Ventoso Farms

Ventoso Farms is one of the first female-run cultivators in Mendocino County, founded by Linnet Lockhart, Michelle Peqaloza, and Alex Cummings, who have more than 45 years of cannabis growing experience combined. 

The company uses the hashtag #QueerToTable to highlight its team of LGBTQ-identifying cultivators producing outdoor-grown weed in the lush landscape of Mendocino County's Round Valley in Northern California. Along with growing rare seed genetics from Bodhi, Humboldt Seed Co., and Waska Farms, Ventoso Farms also grows organic shishito peppers, corn, and cucumbers. 

When asked what she would change about the cannabis industry in an interview with Natural Cannabis Co., Peqaloza said, “I want to see more queer people, people of color, women. A lot of the stereotypical industry is very bro-y, which is very one-note, and not indicative of the people and the communities that are part of the cannabis industry, that are cultivators. Our farm is a really good representation of stuff outside of that.”


The People's Dispensary

The People's Dispensary (TPD) is not only a safe space for the queer community and marginalized consumers, but it also aims to empower LGBTQ and business owners of color to open their own storefronts. 

TPD is growing from storefronts in Portland, Oregon, and Oakland, California, to three more California stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Fresno. New York and New Jersey locations are also in the works. 

Founded in 2016 by Christine De La Rosa, Chaney Turner, Charleen Caabay, and Michael Schlieker, the company is unique with its national equity program. “We realized in the cannabis industry, there was going to be a lot of profit for our investors, but there could be profit for the community as well,” co-founder De La Rosa told Weedmaps. 

“In the equity framework, everybody's sharing. You have people with capital, like us, and you have people without capital. What if we could put those two together and help them develop their business? We have to make pathways for them to enter the market.” 

Portland's Panacea and Oakland's Benefit Health Collective joined forces under The People's Dispensary umbrella in 2018.


Written by Lindsey Bartlett and Lindsay MaHarry