HIGH AS A KITE: Celebrating PRIDE and Cannabis

Listen to this Roots and Reefer Podcast episode on Spotify
Listen on spotify

What is PRIDE Month?

The month of June has come to be known as PRIDE Month and is a celebration for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies. The LGBTQIA+ community celebrates PRIDE Month in June in honor of the Stonewall Uprising, an event that occurred in New York City on June 28th, 1969, where police raided a gay club called the Stonewall Inn, resulting in a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents. The Stonewall Uprising was a turning point for the LGBTQIA+ activist movement and sparked the Gay Rights Movement in the United States, with the first PRIDE parade being a march held by gay rights activists on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

The History of Cannabis and the LGBTQIA+ Community

The LGBTQIA+ and cannabis communities have been intertwined for many decades. When it comes to cannabis, the LGBTQ community is a fundamental component of the cannabis movement for cannabis accessibility today. When the AIDS epidemic hit in the 1980s, the majority of people disproportionately affected were gay men, part of the LGBTQ community. The AIDS epidemic played an integral part in the advancement of medical marijuana use. When members of the queer community began dying from HIV/AIDS, America’s healthcare system and politicians did little to help offer medical services. Without the care of medical professionals and a lack of treatment options, cannabis use in the LGBTQ community became a leading method for terminally ill patients suffering from wasting syndrome to find relief from their symptoms, making the queer community a strong ally to the cannabis movement. 

Dennis Peron: A gay man's effort for social equity and cannabis accessibility.

During this time, many activists advocated for both HIV/AIDS patients and cannabis. One person who played an essential role in the 80s and 90s was Dennis Peron, an LGBTQ community member, activist, and early medical marijuana advocate. Dennis Peron began advocating to legalize medical marijuana in San Francisco with Proposition P, an initiative demanding the city legalize medical cannabis. In 1991, the proposition passed, allowing for legal cannabis use and medical cannabis possession. Over the years, Dennis Peron continued his strong support for cannabis legalization, starting the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, the first public medical dispensary in the United States to help HIV/AIDS patients access medical cannabis. In California, he helped write the first state-wide medical marijuana bill proposing legal access to cannabis. This law, known as California's Compassionate Use Act, became law in 1996, making California the first state to have a legal cannabis industry.

Brownie Mary: the queer-friendly cannabis edibles maker.

Another popular advocate for the LGBT community and medical marijuana and recreational cannabis use movement during the era of the HIV/AIDS epidemic was Mary Jane Rathbun, a waitress who made a side business selling cannabis-infused brownies to the LGBTQ community. After having been arrested multiple times for cannabis possession within a two-year time span, Brownie Mary was sentenced to community service instead of jail time, which brought her to a nonprofit supporting those impacted by AIDS. By 1984, Mary was baking almost 600 cannabis-infused brownies a day for terminally ill patients in need after seeing the many positive benefits of using cannabis in conjunction with HIV/AIDS.

Through the efforts of many LGBTQ people and their active allies like Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary, for cannabis legalization, the cannabis industry today has grown significantly, taking a massive step forward in the social acceptance of medical marijuana and recreational cannabis, and is making an impact on more and more people each day. 

Cannabis and LGBTQIA+ Health and Wellness

Healthcare has become an important issue facing the queer community, with those in the community encountering many challenges due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Many in the LGBTQIA+ community struggle with financial stability and finding equal access to healthcare, as many medical providers pass judgment or refuse to treat them. 

Besides the health-related challenges of HIV/AIDS, many in the LGBTQIA+ community also struggle with gender reconfirmation care, addiction, and mental health issues. With the medical community lacking in its assistance, queer people have been able to find relief from symptoms of pain, depression, anxiety, and more through cannabis use.

As a strong ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, The Source endeavors to help those in the queer community with whatever health-related challenges occur in their lives by providing access to affordable, quality medical cannabis.

Cannabis and LGBTQIA+ Representation

Today, the cannabis and LGBTQIA+ communities continue to advocate for each other by supporting one another’s fight for the destigmatization of queer and cannabis culture, LGBTQIA+ rights, cannabis legalization, and the further decriminalization of cannabis-related offenses. Many cultivations and dispensaries in the cannabis industry are LGBTQIA+ friendly. 

Here at The Source, we value the inclusion of queer culture and are proud of the LGBTQIA+ representation of many of our team members. This year, we’ve shown our support for the queer community in numerous ways, from developing PRIDE-themed cannabis products, donating to the Trevor Project (a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention of LGBTQIA+ youth), and participating in the Fayetteville PRIDE event on June 24th.

LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity and Cannabis

Budtender Feature: Max Cram

This year, The Source cannabis dispensary chooses to celebrate PRIDE month with a highlight of one of its longtime employees and the mastermind behind this year’s PRIDE campaign slogan, “High As A Kite,” Max Cram.

Born in Harrison, Arkansas, Max Cram has lived in the Natural State his whole life. 

Cannabis has played a major role in Max’s life, drastically changing it for the better. When Max was 12 years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Since his diagnosis, Max has endured many complications, including nerve damage from living with the fluctuations in his blood sugar levels. Along with dealing with the symptoms of three autoimmune diseases and ADHD, Max has been able to find relief using cannabis from many of the symptoms he’s experienced to the point where he is able to function again. His experience with cannabis has changed his perspective, and he is now completely interested in the exploration of plant medicine. 

Max joined the cannabis industry because of his interest in the positive benefits of cannabis. Having been with the company since its doors first opened almost 4 years ago, Max started at The Source go as a budtender before moving to the role of trainer and now keyholder. 

According to Max, cannabis has benefited him in many aspects while also bringing him together with like-minded individuals. When asked about his favorite part of working for The Source, Max responded, “getting to meet all of the people I’ve worked with and helped with as patients.”

“Everybody’s body is different; we don’t all have the same effects from the same products and dosages.”
—Max Cram

If you are new to cannabis, here is one piece of advice Max would give you: “...to gather as much information as you can, ask questions, and be patient with the results as you need to try different consumption methods and dosing. Everybody’s body is different; we don’t all have the same effects from the same products and dosages.”

When it comes to Max’s favorite cannabis products, he says it’s a toss-up between ArkanRAW (a dabbable syringe of concentrated raw full-spectrum cannabis oil) and flower, with his preferred consumption method being joints or blunts. The cannabis strain Max would smoke if he could only smoke one for the rest of his life? Purple Punch because of the “sweet doughy flavor.” He says, “Regardless of the THC percentage, the effects always provide full-body pain relief and relaxation” while also helping with appetite stimulation.

Max is also the brilliant mind behind The Source’s 2023 PRIDE campaign, “High As A Kite.” Of the slogan, Max said he came up with it while he was high (duh). After thinking about the past year and how the LGBTQIA+ community has been dealing with so much negativity, he wanted people to know about the many prideful people in our community since the community is a big part of The Source's values. According to Max, “Fly your pride as high as a kite.”


other blog posts

Oops! You are not old enough to visit this site