It’s 2022 and while we celebrate Pride across the nation, we can’t ignore the slew of violence against the LGBTQ community that happens daily. From waves of anti-LGBTQ legislation to far-right groups targeting Pride events to spread their agenda, it’s clear that there’s always more work to do.
The cannabis industry is no exception. Without naming any names, let’s just say some screenshots circling LinkedIn and other platforms have helped form a bleak perception of an industry that’s far from inclusive, a reputation many can back up with their experiences.
“Erasure of anyone different from the predominantly white and heterosexual cis-gender male cannabis industry is super common,” explains Jamie London Wollberg (he/they), or Chef Trannabis. “It means feeling left out of events and spaces or simply not welcomed. It means not being seen and heard. It means not being offered opportunities.”
Despite obstacles, Wollberg and others have paved their own paths in the industry, pushing past unfounded narratives that they don’t belong. (These narratives are especially offensive when we consider the pivotal role the LGBTQ community has played in passing cannabis legislation and shaping our current industry.)
Try as some might, disturbing trends haven’t stopped the industry from producing some amazing brands built by smart, business-savvy members of the LGBTQ community. Here are some queer-led companies to support not just this June, but year-round.
When his successful YouTube account was removed for content violations, Arend Richard launched The WeedTube, a video sharing alternative centered around cannabis. Since its launch in 2018, the social network has offered commercial-style video advertising to cannabis consumers, along with a large pool of cannabis-centered user content.
Richard has expressed his identity as a gay man since day one of entering the industry, he recently shared in a LinkedIn post. He went on to say, “I, like many other queer people in the space, are here to keep reminding you and the rest of the world, that cannabis knows no sexuality, color, or class. Cannabis loves all, and we love cannabis.”
Led by Lex Corwin, Stone Road operates on a 57-acre solar-powered farm on the outskirts of Nevada City, California. The company makes all of their cannabis products in house, even hand-rolling their joints.
Stone Road’s aesthetic is all about liberation, and they stick to these values in their daily actions. Lex Corwin is committed to hiring and featuring LGBTQ community members, both for daily operations and content.
As their website states, “Cannabis is nature’s best unifier, bringing together people from every place, background, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religion. It brings out your inner child, turns parties into sacred happenings, and expands your mind. It almost feels like a secret code — a secret that’s also not a secret at all.”
Sonoma Hills Farm
Recognized as one of the top ten hottest woman-led cannabis brands in California, Sonoma Hills Farm is also a queer-led cannabis company growing pesticide-free, sun-grown green. Co-founder Joyce Cenali put me onto this information via LinkedIn message a while back while we were discussing Sonoma Hills Farm’s recognition as a top woman-led brand.
Needless to say, Sonoma Hills Farm is exceptional at what they do best: growing top-quality bud. They even offer a farm stay through AirBnB, a surefire way to build loyal customers and give people an unforgettable brand experience.
Trannabis LLC is a lifestyle brand with education-based activism “bridging the gap between the LGBTQAI2S+ and cannabis communities.” Founder and CEO Jamie London Wollberg also runs a kitchen series called The Trannabis Kitchen, all about intuitive cooking with cannabis through a spiritual lens. He offers public cannabis cooking videos alongside private sessions for more targeted approaches to healing with cannabis and food.
Wollberg also operates Trannabis Chi under Trannabis LLC, a plant-powered spiritual wellness solution for couples seeking deepened intimacy and balance. Along with living the Trannabis lifestyle every day, Wollberg actively supports the LGBTQAI2S+ community, prioritizing organizations focused on the gender expansive and BIPOC communities and donating $1 from each purchase received to the Trans Wellness Center in LA.
As a medical patient in California, Wollberg credits his motivation to operate Trannabis from his own experiences identifying as a “soul before a queer transgender man living with neuro-diverse and disabled experience.”
This Oregon-based extract company also makes tinctures, strain-specific chocolate, and a pain-relieving topical. Katie Stem and Kate Black are the power couple behind Peak Extracts, which was launched in 2014 in response to Stem’s Crohn Disease and the healing she found with cannabis.
After operating as a custom edibles brand for Oregon’s medical market, the pair got a processors license and became one of the state’s first adult-use edibles producers. Today, they remain a successful and prominent brand in the industry. And we know their products are good, given they work with Alter Farms and East Fork Cultivars, two farms that go above and beyond for organic practices.
We’ve talked about cannabis education before, but only recently has SeedCrest been on our radar. The New Mexico-based company is woman, Latina, and LGBTQ+ owned and certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
They offer a range of cannabis training for budtenders and other cannabis employees, from HIPAA compliance training to customer service in the industry. Their courses cover crucial information for students, entrepreneurs, business owners, and government agencies. This company provides a valuable asset to the industry, which has no shortage of people hopping in without the cannabis-specific knowledge they need to succeed.
In putting this list together, I wanted to create something that looked a little different from other lists I’ve seen. As such, I had to cut several California cannabis brands that I wanted to include, because the state has many queer-led brands to support and I didn’t want to accidentally create a California-only list.
That said, we’re fans of CANN and we’ve been following their progress (see here, here, and here) but wanted to spotlight some brands we don’t see listed as often. Still, CANN is killing it with their cannabis beverages and amazing marketing techniques using LGBTQ+ casts and crews. Seriously, if you haven’t checked out their latest video promo, do yourself a favor and click here.
Let’s not forget the awesome queer-owned Sonder, makers of the mouthwatering and nostalgic space rocks, which mimic memories of rotting our teeth with sweet packs of pop rocks. And we can’t leave out women and LGBTQ-founded House of Saka, makers of elegantly-bottled cannabis wines and bubblies, perfect for consumers trying to cut back on alcohol or who’d simply prefer a high over a wine buzz.
There’s no way I could include all of the best LGBTQ-owned cannabis companies on the market, a problem that sounds good on the surface (woo, lots of them!) but that also carries a darker undertone: they’re often not as visible. As June falls behind us and corporations take down their Pride flags, we are excited to cover more and more queer-owned brands throughout 2022 and beyond. Happy Pride!