The effort to make cannabis legal and the campaign for LGBTQIA+ people’s rights go hand in hand. That historical connection emerged from marijuana’s illegal consumption as a treatment option when the HIV and AIDS epidemic was at its peak. When AIDS ravaged queer individuals, people such as Mary Rathbun and Dennis Peron advocated for medical cannabis’s use to ease the disease-induced suffering and its prescription medicine’s harmful effects. Ultimately, those two could develop California’s first medical marijuana dispensary.
LGBTQIA+ people still use medical marijuana for conditions such as anxiety, mental depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. They also use it directly due to the systemic form of oppression they had to confront. Anyhow, those people need to use it, plus they have participated in the past medical marijuana movement. Despite the above-mentioned, the marijuana industry has more cis people, who back the community only in Pride Month or who tend to struggle with authentic representation.
Andrés Rigal may end this lack of representation with the help of Green Qween dispensary, which is focused on backing Downtown Los Angeles’s LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC population. The dispensary would utilize cannabis as an economic engine and vehicle for change, financing the process of constructing DTLA Proud’s Community Center. That move would help to do the following.
- Provide services to the community’s members who are in need
- Hire transitional workers through its collaboration with Chrysalis
- Display creative queer art together with murals
- Incubate LGBTQIA+ brands through shelf space
DTLA Proud’s co-founder and board member Eric Solis stated that the dispensary would have the following effects.
- Would turn out to be a big boon for the LA community
- Would contribute positively to the growing LGBTQIA+ people who live, work and play in DTLA
As for Solis, DTLA Proud is thrilled to partner with the first modern-day marijuana dispensary for queer folks that is built on inclusion, local community investment, and diversity.
It reminds us more of the community hubs from Brownie Mary’s time as compared to the slick corporate testaments to increasing profit in LA.
As for Rigal, an overwhelming portion of homeless children are trans and queer people who are banished from their homes. Rigal also sees LGBTQIA+ youth with no home in a state of wasting away around his building. He stated that we must make organizations, queer-owned business ventures, and safe spaces that build foundations for future generations, thus giving back to the community.
As a community, it has quickly coalesced around the vision for an inclusive and safer DTLA through a petition that urges the support of LA councilor Kevin de León. That petition on Change.org has already got 2,000 people’s signatures. That follows the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council’s unanimous support of the application. Besides, local community groups have submitted many other letters on DLANC’s behalf.
Even LGBTQIA+ celebs are noticing the effort as they draw attention to Green Qween through their fame. Regarding Green Qween, Kade Gottlieb said that finding businesses actively supporting the community, or dedicating their whole mission to becoming a safe place to everyone, is rare as a trans man. Gottlieb also said that it is inspiring to see DTLA making such important spaces for queer individuals. For the uninitiated, Gottlieb is a transgender makeup artist and a drag performer.
Reality TV personality Samuel Geggie said that there has always been a safe place at DTLA for queer individuals to visit and be around like-minded people. Gigi Goode supports Green Qween as the Los Angeles-based dispensary is built on such queer relationships.
The dispensary leased its Broadway, Los Angeles, location more than a year before, but it is awaiting LA to begin processing. The dispensary’s application, now on Kevin Alexander Leon’s desk, is likely to expire earlier this June with no action.
Unique Women’s Coalition’s founder Chela Demuir told the councilor that disproportionate policing during the unsuccessful war on drugs badly affected the African-American trans community. Demuir described the community’s members as people who have lost not just their freedom and livelihood but also their lives in an excessive number of situations. Demuir called for Leon’s backing to cause the cannabis sector to be not just more open but also accepting of LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC people. For your information, Unique Women’s Coalition is the first support organization for African-American people in LA.
The dispensary asked Leon to back the above-mentioned vision at a recent City Council committee meeting. It also demanded Leon include a placeholder in another council meeting that follows the above-mentioned gathering. Without those two actions, the community’s dream to have a marijuana dispensary for it would fade early on in this Pride Month.
In the event of wanting to urge councilor Leon to back the community, you might have signed the petition mentioned above.