Happy LGBTQ+ Pride Month!
For many LGBTQ+ folks, Pride Month is hitting differently this year, in the midst of record-high anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans policies making their way through the United States and the harmful rhetoric that comes with them. Of course, Pride is about celebration in the face of adversity, and cannabis brands like
Stone Road is a queer-led, family-run cannabis brand that has taken off since it was founded in 2016 by then-23-year-old Lex Corwin. The cannabis company operates a 57-acre, off-grid family farm in Nevada City, California, and you can also find its products in Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Michigan.
The brand is already known for its diverse, inclusive and edgy marketing campaign highlighting LGBTQ+ folks. Corwin said that the people have always been at the center of the brand, with Stone Road prioritizing queer and BIPOC artists for campaign shoots and consciously working to employ folks in these communities.
High There caught up with Corwin
Stone Road Launches 2023 Pride Collection
For Pride Month, Stone Road launched a limited-edition Pride Collection featuring six fruity and flavorful pre-roll varieties, custom named and infused with signature house-made bubble hash and diamonds. The collection includes Dancing Qween Diesel, Bi-Now-Gay-Later and Iced Vanilla Twink Latte in five-packs and singles for Super Silver Daddy, Second Date Wedding Cake and Out of The Closet Kush.
Corwin said that past Stone Road Pride Collections were more oriented toward gay men and wanted to open it up this year. In addition to the quippy names, the team played with different pantones, including colors from the trans and bisexual Pride flags.
“We just wanted to have a wider variety of flavors this year, but I mean, we love doing it,” Corwin said. “People are always looking to support during the month. So we want to have fun products that people can pick up, and then it’s obviously a great opportunity to give back.”
This year, Stone Road is supporting
Proudly Queer All Year
While June is a great time to uplift and support LGBTQ+ people, especially given the current climate, it’s more important than ever to offer support and visibility within the cannabis space year round.
In his experience, Corwin said that the best way to lift people up and provide support is by putting the brand’s dollars back into the community. For Stone Road, that means having an entirely queer creative team. This isn’t to say that they are reluctant to hire non-LGBTQ+ talent, though he admitted that’s simply how the brand evolved.
When Stone Road initially launched, the brand relied on queer creatives to help out for low or no pay. From there, it “snowballed” Corwin said, as creatives shared their work in their own circles, which reached other LGBTQ+ folks and gradually increased the brand’s overall visibility.
“So for us, it’s just supporting the community that supports us,” Corwin said. “There are so many people in the community who specifically seek out our products to buy and support, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.”
The team isn’t asking anyone to buy Stone Road products because it’s an LGBTQ-owned-and-operated company, Corwin said. Rather, consumers should take note because they make incredible products with approachable pricing.
“And like, yes, we all happen to be mostly queer, but we’re not asking for special treatment. We just want a fair playing field to show people what we’ve got.”
A Challenging Time for LGBTQ+ Folks
As of June 2023, more than 530 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced this year alone according to
Corwin referenced that it is a “really, really dark time” for the LGBTQ+ community, especially stark given the polarizing directions states throughout the country are moving. While states like Minnesota and Maryland have made recent strides to become trans safe havens and further protect LGBTQ+ rights, others like
However, Corwin cautioned folks from promoting the wrong messaging in this conversation.
“There’s so much that we can do to push back, but ultimately trying to support the people that don’t have the financial means to leave Florida. Do you know what I mean?” Corwin posed. “It’s not about, ‘Oh, come to New York or California. We’re so progressive.’ It’s like, ‘No, let’s work together to make the places where people already live more inclusive.'”
Looking at ways to be actionable, Corwin said it’s important for businesses to support the groups on the ground lobbying legislators to vote against these bills. He emphasized the importance of everyone coming together to fight against these attacks.
“We’re facing an assault on our rights that I don’t think we’ve seen in a while, and we’ve gotten a little bit complacent with all the general progress we’ve made over the past 20 years,” Corwin said.
Looking Ahead Embracing Cannabis and Queerness
In his experience, Corwin said the cannabis industry has been very supportive of the community. He also said that simply, “The cannabis industry is really gay. It’s really clear.”
Corwin added, “The impact that we’ve been able to make on allies in terms of not doing the rather performative, once-a-year quick Pride campaign, but instead, hiring more queer people and doing more inclusive campaigns across the years — it’s been really nice to see the cannabis community come together and support the queer folks in it.”
Stone Road is eager to continue expanding across the country, setting sights on New Mexico next.
As the company continues to grow, Corwin referenced the tumultuous California market with a focus on his gratitude for Stone Road’s ongoing success, calling it a “magical” thing.
“People always say, ‘Oh, do you feel like you got pigeonholed as a queer brand?’ And it’s just like, do you realize how many people are queer in America?”
“… I feel like everyone just shortchanged us, and now we’re showing we have this staying power,” Corwin continued. “It’s just really great and symptomatic of the changing world we live in, and ultimately we are moving in the right direction. These obstacles and setbacks we’re seeing, we’ll overcome it like we always do.”