LGBTQ Representation in Cannabis: How the Industry Can Change for the Better

Over the course of June, you're likely to see a wide variety of brands and products getting a rainbow makeover just in time for Pride Month. The cannabis industry is certainly not exempt from this branded holiday treatment — after all, the histories of the gay rights movement and the marijuana legalization movement are intrinsically linked — however such gestures of support can belie the industry's issues with LGBTQ representation, or lack there-of.

LGBT Capital estimated in 2016 that LGBTQ people's global spending power is worth US$5.4 trillion. But rather than play to this sizeable community with year-round promotions, brands that solely target LGBTQ consumers during June run the risk of rubbing the population the wrong way. According to a 2018 survey by Grindr's digital magazine Into and market-research firm Brand Innovators, just 15.6% of LGBTQ people feel very positively toward brands that have LGBTQ themes in their marketing only during Pride Month, and just 40% feel very positively toward those that incorporate such themes year-round.

Perhaps people are hoping for more meaningful moves than rainbow packaging — and such moves are necessary. While sexism in the cannabis industry has been explored in researchwriting, and even film, less light has been shed on homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and other forms of prejudice and discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. However, many LGBTQ people in the industry report instances of such mistreatment.    Read more via Weedmaps