Cannabis Legalization and the LGBTQ Community

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Cannabis, or marijuana, legalization is gaining in many countries and regions around the world. Countries that have legalized recreational use of cannabis are Canada, Georgia, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and Uruguay, plus states, 3 territories, and the District of Columbia in the United States and the Australian Capital Territory in Australia. Sales in North America are expected to hit US$50 billion by 2026 compared to US$6.7 billion in 2016.

Many compare activism for cannabis legalization to activism in the LGBTQ community. Early activist for legalization were members of the LGBTQ community pushing for medical acceptance to manage the effects of HIV/AIDS. Today’s widespread acceptance of cannabis can be traced back to the country’s first medical marijuana policy: California’s Proposition 215, or the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which was spearheaded by the gay community. These individuals include Mary Jane Rathbun and Dennis Peron of the United States.

Cannabis legalization and equal marriage rights are both socially progressive liberal policies. Their individual successes are often compared to each other.

Lesbian Brittney Griner's detention in Russia for the possession of cannabis became an international news story in 2022.

Today, individuals from the LGBTQ community are actively involved in the industry itself. This is occurring despite the belief of some that the Cannabis industry is ignoring this early history of participation, is dominated by white male straight men, and is homophobic.


Great Britain

United States

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Further Reading/Research

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