For decades, the cannabis movement and LGBTQ+ activism have been heavily intertwined.
The interconnectedness between the two movements is rooted in the medical use of cannabis by the LGBTQ+ community, who were disproportionately affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The urgent need for medicinal relief kickstarted a profound battle for support and access to cannabis.
Behind the scenes, LGBTQ+ activists and allies, including Dennis Pero, Brownie Mary, and Harvey Milk, advocated for cannabis legalization as early as the 1970s — later amplified during the 80s and 90s. At the height of the movement, Dennis Pero, a widely recognized "godfather" of cannabis advocacy, secured the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 in California. Other states soon followed California's lead, and now more than half the country lives in a state with access to cannabis.
Today, cannabis is a multi-billion dollar industry. By 2025, it is estimated that 50 million people will consume cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes. However, despite LGBTQ+ activists dominating the historical backbone of legalization, cannabis executives in the business sectors are primarily white, cisgender men.
Considering that demographic studies show gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer people are among the highest consumers of cannabis, the need for inclusive representation is still a work in progress.
This Pride Month, we're proud to highlight some of the leading LGBTQ+ cannabis brands in the industry.
This Pride Month, there is no better time to call attention to the ongoing lack of representation in the industry and support the many tremendous LGBTQ+ cannabis brands.
Not only will increased brand awareness bring greater equity and representation to the cannabis industry, but you may just find a new favorite brand or product.
And because many of these brands donate to initiatives or organizations focused on social issues, diversifying your selection also means supporting efforts to repair the damage and discrimination inflicted by the war on drugs.
CANN specializes in THC-infused drinks. Founded by Luke Anderson and Jake Bullock out of Venice, California, CANN has gained praise from celebrities like Tove Lo to Ruby Rose. In 2021, CANN teamed up with another LGBTQ-owned brand, Sava, to release their Secret Pride Bundle, with a portion of all proceeds going to Community United Against Violence, which works to “transform the violence and oppression experienced by LGBTQ communities into healing and leadership.”
The company's "social tonics" are low-calorie and low-dose, making them perfect for social settings or for sharing with friends. Each CANN is between 8 to 35 calories, infused with 2 milligrams of THC and 4 milligrams of CBD. CANN's are available in many flavors, such as lemon lavender, blood orange cardamom, ginger lemongrass, grapefruit rosemary, and pineapple jalapeño.
Stone Road was formed by former real estate investment analyst Lex Corwin in 2016. Based out of Venice, California, the company offers a variety of flower, hash stuffed joints (rolled by hand), THC extracts and concentrates, and a unique roll-your-own pouch of pre-ground cannabis flower.
Stone Road sources all its marijuana from Northern California family farms and its own 57-acre off-the-grid farm in Nevada City.
In 2021, Stone Road donated 10% of its June profits to the LGBTQ Freedom Fund to help bail out members of the LGBTQ+ community incarcerated in U.S. jails and immigration facilities.
Peak Extracts was founded by Katie Stem and Kate Black in 2014. As a medical marijuana patient, Stem had been making chocolate edibles for nearly a decade to help alleviate symptoms of Crohn's disease. In doing so, she learned that some strains helped more than others. Not only that, certain strains had unpleasant or unwanted side effects.
Stem and Black saw that many other companies didn’t pay much attention to strain selection. So, in founding Peak Extracts, the duo sought to create cannabis products that delivered a superior experience through the proper dosages and the appropriate strains.
Peak Extracts recreational cannabis products are only available in Oregon.
With culinary tastes heavily influenced by her upbringing in France, founder Kim Geraghty’s Los Angeles-based edibles brand, Madame Munchie, blends French culinary traditions with California cannabis to deliver some of the most unique and award-winning edibles available today.
Each Madame Munchie edible is made with natural, locally sourced ingredients and the highest quality cannabis from the company's family-owned farm in Mendocino County, California. Every product is full-spectrum, baked with proprietary marijuana butter (or coconut oil for vegans) derived from fresh cannabis.
One of our favorites is the Madame Munchie French macarons, which claimed 1st place at the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup (the year Madame Munchie was founded).
Sundae School, a queer POC-owned company, is a stylish cannabis brand and smokewear label based in Seoul and Los Angeles.
Sundae School aims to use cannabis as a plant and tool to expand the mind and bring people closer together. The company produces high-quality cannabis flower, chewy mochi gummies, stylish Smokewear, and more for recreational consumption. The brand was established in 2017 on New Year's Day in Gangnam, Korea.
CommCan is 100% family-owned and LGBTQ-owned. It is also recognized for being the first certified woman-owned cannabis company in Massachusetts. Positioning itself as the Commonwealth's genuine "home-grown" marijuana brand, CommCan prides itself on including no outside consultants, investors, or management companies in its operations.
CommCan is one of the largest LGBTQ-owned businesses in Massachusetts, with the goal of bringing world-class cannabis products to the state. From edibles to vapes to tinctures, their most notable brands include BITE, SIP, DRiP, and TINQ.
The Sonder cannabis brand was founded in the San Francisco Bay area in 2018 by Faun Chapin and M. Paradise. Well-known and beloved for its stylish vape pens, the latest and greatest coming out of Sonder is their new sublingual Space Crystals, a THC-infused kind of Pop Rocks. This Pride Month, get all of the good stuff (and none of the bad stuff) with fun flavors like Pineapple Party, Stoned Fruit, and Cheers Queers!
Drew Martin Co. is notable for more than their beautifully packaged hand rolled pre-rolls. The company has teamed up in the past with CANN and Sonder to create a Pride Month bundle, with proceeds going to support queer BIPOC organizations involved in the cannabis industry, including Copper House, Supernova Women, and the scholarship program at pottery studio Pot LA.
While supporting LGBTQ+ cannabis brands, don’t forget to show some love this Pride Month to these LGBTQ+ groups and entrepreneurs that help bring so many of your favorite brands to life!
Altered Plates is a hospitality consulting duo composed of expert chef Holder Jagger and his sister Rachel Burkons. The siblings are based in Los Angeles, CA, and act as influential thought-leaders for restaurants and eateries. Specifically, Altered Plates works with brands to help them develop business models and operations catered to serving cannabis and CBD-infused dishes.
Not only that, Altered Plates provides marijuana-related culinary education services, along with event planning, brand development, content creation, and more.
Emily Eizen is a multimedia artist who works in painting, modeling, sculpture, photography, and interior design. Her aesthetic is inspired by a '60s psychedelic vibe that emphasizes the beauty, freedom, and diversity Eizen believes is vital to making the marijuana space a truly equitable place. Her artwork and portfolio display an ability to navigate through various styles and aesthetics across spectrums of gender and sexuality.
Emily is also a contributor to various magazines and publications, and provides photography for High Times, Playboy, Honeysuckle, Forbes, Different Leaf, and California Leaf.
Laganja Estranja, also known as Jay Jackson, is a cannabis activist, entrepreneur, media personality, choreographer, and LGBTQ+ icon. In her work as a marijuana-rights activist, Laganja has given talks regarding cannabis legalization at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and Impulse in San Francisco. Estranja has also been featured in High Times Magazine and Dope Magazine, making herthe first LGBTQ+ advocate featured on the cover of a cannabis magazine.
Of course, these aren't the only LGBTQ+-owned cannabis brands making waves in the marijuana industry. Join Nugg Club to access more of our favorites, and learn about Nugg Club's environmental and social efforts.