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Pride 2022: Let’s Be the Change We Want to See

June 1, 2022

Pride Month is upon us and, like many of you, we are reflecting on the current state of the union for LGBTQIA+ people with a mixture of joy and angst. There’s a lot to celebrate. We have made significant gains on our march towards equality. Sadly, these gains are under siege and at risk, and we still have a long way to go to fully realize the dreams and aspirations of the civil rights movement when it comes to the Queer community. If we want a future where all beings thrive and are able to be who they are and love who they love, we will have to do a lot more than paint rainbows everywhere to show our support.

As in many industries, June for cannabis has come to mean a month of rainbow marketing campaigns, kitschy “seasonal” packaging, and “special edition”, Pride-themed products. Real talk: we as an industry, as business owners, and as humans can — and must — do better when it comes to embracing, celebrating, and promoting diversity in all the ways. It’s beyond time we honor the LGBTQIA+ community with meaningful social and corporate action instead of the usual pink-wash of Pride marketing. Not just in June but 24/7/365.

Truth is, we owe a massive debt of gratitude to the Queer community for their trailblazing role in the legalization of our favorite healing herb. The history of the legal cannabis movement is intricately linked to the movement for gay rights — the LGBTQIA+ community lobbied hard for legalization in response to the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 80s, and the critical role of cannabis in the lives of terminally ill patients and those living with the ravages of this devastating disease. These courageous advocates and activists put themselves on the line and helped to put cannabis where it is today. They deserve our honor and our respect, not a month of surface celebration mixed with commercial exploitation.

At Napa Valley Fumé, we celebrate and invest in diversity and show our love, honor, and respect to our LGBTQIA+ friends, co-workers, family members, partners, and customers every day of the year. For us, Pride isn’t a month and it isn’t about marketing. Pride is about values, values that place diversity and respect front and center, values we do our best to embody and practice, not just pay lip service to. The sad fact is that our industry has a poor track record when it comes to diversity and especially when it comes to recruiting and investing in talent from the LGBTQIA+ community. We and other values-driven companies in cannabis like The Artist Tree, Cann, Jushi, and Sava have expanded our recruitment efforts to attract, hire, and invest in a diverse workforce. Our president, Ian Hackett, whom we featured in last year’s Pride post, is an out and proud gay man committed to playing a leadership role in addressing the lack of diversity in cannabis and beyond.

We still have a long way to go to achieve true equality in our industry and will continue to work tirelessly to realize this future vision. As you think about how to celebrate diversity and be a force for good this year, we wanted to share some events happening this month that celebrate cannabis and Pride and give back directly to the LGBTQIA+ Community. Here’s our round of LGBTQIA+ events across the Golden State:

THE JOY OF PUFF, an LGBTQ Drag/Variety PRIDE Party at Joy Reserve, San Francisco

On Thursday, June 16th, LAKE GRADE is proud to be participating in a night of drag and Pride at the Joy Reserve, located in the Westfield Center next to Bloomingdales. Joy Reserve is a values-driven dispensary whose mission is to support businesses operated by those with marginalized identities – people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, and women – who have been most severely impacted by cannabis prohibition. The Joy of Puff, hosted by DJ Dank with DJ Sergio Fedasz spinning, promises “an amazing night of drag delights, musical mayhem, yummy munchies, and lots of prizes and surprises.” Stoner raffle, mocktails and snacks, and in-store specials promise to make this a night to remember or one you’ll love but find hard to remember. A portion of the proceeds will go toward SF AIDS Walk.

Tickets are $10. Thursday, June 16th. Doors open at 6:30, show starts at 7 pm.

PRIDE Puff & Paint at The Artist Tree, West Hollywood

The Artist Tree in West Hollywood is hosting a fun, participatory art event on Saturday, June 18th from 2:00-5:00 pm that welcomes all levels of artistic ability. Join hosts Juicy Queen CoCo & Moby Arts in The Studio Lounge, a one-of-a-kind cannabis consumption lounge (yes, you read that right, this is one of the few where you can publicly and safely enjoy cannabis on the premises), art gallery, and cannabis boutique. You’ll enjoy a pre-painting smoke sesh in their beautiful lounge space then move upstairs into their artist studio to paint with artist Corie Mattie. They’ll provide the art supplies. Top shelf treats and delectable bites will be available for purchase.

General admission tickets are $50, and $99 for VIP. Saturday, June 18th from 2:00-5:00 pm.

“Queendom” Photographic Exposition at The Artist Tree, West Hollywood

This Pride Month, The Artist Tree in WeHo will be staging a photographic exposition of the work of artist and iconographer Robert Hayman. The “One Man Show” will feature luminaries from the LGBTQIA+ community showcasing digital prints of some of the world’s most famous drag queens and LGBTQIA+ artists. The exhibition will hang all-month long for National Pride Month. Soft opening (their words ;)) on Thursday, June 2nd at 7 pm. Hard opening (again, their words ;)) on Friday, June 10th at 7 pm where the artist will be doing a live performance art piece called “My Queendom” with our friend, the world-renowned Drag Queen artist, and cannabis activist Laganja Estranja. The events are free and the dispensary will be donating a portion of sales proceeds from all Pride pre-rolls sold during the month of June to WayOutLA, an organization that advances programs supporting LGBTQ youth.

Free event. Soft opening on Thursday, June 2nd at 7 pm. Hard opening on Friday, June 10th at 7 pm.

WeHo Pride: Come Out for Cannabis

The Emerald Village West Hollywood cannabis travel and tourism board (yes, awesomely, this is a thing!) is bringing cannabis pride to the larger West Hollywood Pride celebrations in LA this year, recognizing the parallels between the struggle for gay rights and the legalization of marijuana and the crossover role many Queer Rights icons played in both. Come Out for Cannabis celebrates the diversity of cannabis consumers. Emerald Village will also be kicking off a drag competition called “Queen of the Emerald Village” that benefits Being Alive LA, a nonprofit client-driven organization focusing on the mental health and wellness of people living with HIV and AIDS. Get your tickets and make your donations to this worthy cause today.

Tickets are $22 for general admission and $50 for VIP. The finale will take place on Sunday, May 26th at The Artist Tree (Studio Lounge) in West Hollywood from 5-7 pm.

If you find yourself in the Bay Area or the LA area, we hope you’ll check out and enjoy these events. If you can’t make it and want to contribute, we encourage you to donate whatever you can to the organizations listed above — WayOutLA and Being Alive LA. If you want to support LGBTQIA+ in the Bay Area, we love The SF LGBT Center which connects LGBTQIA+ people to opportunities, resources, and each other, and Openhouse SF which centers the voices of LGBTQIA+ seniors.

If you find yourself in the Bay Area or the LA area, we hope you’ll check out and enjoy these events. If you can’t make it and want to contribute, we encourage you to donate whatever you can to the organizations listed above — WayOutLA and Being Alive LA. If you want to support LGBTQIA+ in the Bay Area, we love The SF LGBT Center which connects LGBTQIA+ people to opportunities, resources, and each other, and Openhouse SF which centers the voices of LGBTQIA+ seniors. And speaking of Openhouse, SF, they are hosting a Pride event on Saturday, June 4th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in SF that you might be interested in:

Pride Poster Making Party, Openhouse SF

Feeling creative and want to get a jump start on your Pride planning? Openhouse SF, an organization we love that centers the voices and needs of LGBTQ seniors, is having a Pride Poster Making Party on Saturday, June 4th from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. LGBTQIA+ seniors will lead the SF Pride parade this year, honoring those who walked the path toward equality before us and who helped to deliver the rights we have come to take for granted. They’ll provide art supplies and snacks. Join staff, community members, and volunteers and get ready to show your pride and make your voice heard this Pride!

Free Event (consider donating dollars as well as time). Saturday, June 4, 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. In-Person at 75 Laguna Street, San Francisco. Note: Masks are required to enter the building.

Beyond supporting organizations doing the important work of furthering and supporting the rights of the Queer community, there are a lot of other ways you can contribute and make a difference:

  • Be an ally 24/7. Don’t let people slander the LGBTQIA+ community in your presence.
  • Vote for government officials and politicians who will support and defend equal rights for all.
  • Support the LGBTQIA+ youth centers and senior centers in your city. Aging LGBTQIA+ seniors are often forced back ‘into the closet’ when they enter nursing homes as their peers are of a different generation and don’t have the same degree of acceptance as the younger generations do. And there are still families that do not accept their child as LGBTQIA+ and those kids need a safe space to seek refuge and community.

All of this is to simply say, please be an ally in any way that you can. Donate money, time, or just your ear to the LGBTQIA+ community and help drive and defend equal rights for all human beings here and around the world. Let’s come together this Pride Month and every month hereafter to be the change we want to see.

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