Lighting up Love: Missouri cannabis celebrates PRIDE

Lighting up Love: Missouri cannabis celebrates PRIDE


Cannabis and the LGBTQIA+ community share a unique and intertwined history, both emerging from the shadows of societal stigmatization to become important symbols of freedom and acceptance. Just as the LGBTQIA+ movement has fought for visibility, rights, and equality, the cannabis industry has struggled against prohibition, misunderstanding, and marginalization. Still facing legal and social challenges today, both persevere through activism and a relentless pursuit of recognition and respect.

Activists like Dennis Peron, who was a gay rights and cannabis legalization advocate, played pivotal roles in these intertwined movements. Peron co-authored Proposition 215 and dedicated his life to both LGBTQIA+ rights and cannabis legalization. He founded the Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco, the first public medical marijuana dispensary in the U.S., providing essential support to those suffering from AIDS-related illnesses.

Cannabis brands across the country embrace PRIDE, including many of Missouri’s own.

It’s a Bobo is a local independent designer who creates beautifully themed smoking accessories and has partnered with Terrabis to make a few pieces for Pride.

For It’s a Bobo, Pride means supporting, loving, and celebrating people being their true selves, and they want their brand to reflect that as well.

Terrabis Dispensaries commissioned these BoBos as part of their giveaway for Pride Fest in Springfield, MO, held on June 8, and the upcoming Pride Fest in Saint Louis on June 29 and 30.

Attendees who join Terrabis’ Explorer’s Club loyalty program will have a chance to win a BoBo at the event. Terrabis says the loyalty program is easy and free, and that customers earn points for shopping with Terrabis.

Terrabis also sells pride shirts at all of their MO locations. A portion of proceeds from those sales will directly benefit the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline. Proceeds from shirts sold in Springfield will go to the GLO Center,  a local LGBTQ+ charity.

To show its support for the LGBTQ+ community, High Profile is running a donation campaign for The Trevor Project at checkout. This nonprofit, founded in 1998, focuses on preventing suicide among LGBTQ+ youth. Throughout June, all donations will help provide vital resources, education, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ young people.


“Donate to the Trevor Project at checkout and receive our special 2024 Roll with Pride sticker.”

In addition to some of the corporate activations, a few familiar names in the Missouri cannabis industry shared their thoughts on what the LGBTQIA+ community means to them and the importance of its representation in the cannabis industry.

Jess Cooksey

Jess Cooksey, VP of Sales and Marketing for GCA Labs, a cannabis testing facility and the first ISO 17025-certified cannabis lab in Missouri, said, “What does pride mean to me? I should say acceptance and love… but it’s much deeper. Pride is about every person out there choosing to live and be themselves. It’s for the 11-year-old me, scared of what the world will think and how I will be treated. It’s for the teenagers who try to unalive themselves because society paints a picture of us as less than we are. It’s for the bigots to understand that we’re not going away, and we know how to fight. My first Pride as my true self was a surreal and magical experience. For the first time, I could walk around thousands of people who didn’t treat me differently. In many ways, Pride saved my life. I couldn’t accept myself, but the St. Louis community protected me with positivity and open arms.

“In many ways, the LGBTQ+ community and the cannabis community are the same. We both were looked at as outcasts. We both are a marginalized group of people. We both have roots in activism. Dennis Peron, for example, fought hard to get medical cannabis to aid patients and start medical legalization efforts in California. Paul Scott, a student of Peron, started the Los Angeles Black Gay Pride organization and created the first medical cannabis facility in Inglewood. Mary Jane Rathburn and her infused brownie movement at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The list goes on. Cannabis users and members of the LGBTQ+ community have fought hard for acceptance, inclusion, and legal recognition. I love supporting cannabis organizations that empower and are inclusive to the LGBTQ+ communities. The cannabis community is among the most accepting and loving for any marginalized group.”

Douglas Hall and Jack Heffner | The Cannabis Agency

Jack Heffner, Director of Activation for The Cannabis Agency, shared a heartfelt expression, “In the rhythm of Pride’s community sway, echoes resound in oneself and the tribe’s array. With shared experiences, fears, joys’ bright rays, and shared goals, our spirits dance and play. Cannabis, oh communal grace, the great equalizer in this sacred space. In its smoke, all distinctions efface, as we gather, breaking barriers, we embrace. Like breaking bread in ancient lore, we break expectations, opening every door. In June’s embrace, we strive for more, a shared moment where hearts truly soar. So let us gather, let us share, passing cannabis through the air. In this shared bond, we declare, we’re all one tribe, beyond compare.”

Clinton Cole

Clinton Cole, a brand ambassador for CLOVR, said, “Working in the cannabis industry during Pride Month has been awesome. It’s such a welcoming and accepting community with tons of opportunities. As a brand ambassador for CLOVR, I get to team up with ally brands like Wana, who do so much all year round to be inclusive. Being part of an industry that celebrates diversity and support daily feels great. Missouri cannabis has a lot to be #proud of.”

Bethanie White

Finally, Bethanie White, Marketing Director at Blue Dart Ventures, stated, “The cannabis industry is full of open-minded and welcoming people. It’s what makes our industry amazing: having so many different backgrounds, ideas, and views that all come together. When I started in the industry ten years ago, worrying about being accepted or judged wasn’t an issue as I had in past industries. People outside of the LGBTQ+ community may not understand what a hurdle or barrier it is to be concerned about just being your true, authentic self on day one, which ultimately allows you to be better at your job. The cannabis industry has always been inclusive, and I will forever be thankful to be a part of both communities.”

The Missouri cannabis industry is full of amazing members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and we are proud to call them family. It takes a lot of courage to share your true self in a red state, and we stand with anyone who has or hasn’t come out to their community.