By Melissa Hutsell with additional reporting by Taylor Short. Photo credit: Sara Rampazzo.
Currently, the legal cannabis industry is worth more than $9 billion, according to Grand View Research. It’s only expected to grow, providing alternative forms of treatment, relief, and millions of jobs along the way.
The emergence of this multi-billion dollar industry was catalyzed by members of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual/Agender (LGBTQIA+) community.
The efforts of LGBTQIA+ activists and allies like Dennis Peron, Harvey Milk, Alice B. Toklas, Mary Rathbun aka Brown Mary, and countless others helped cannabis gain acceptance as a medicine, and in turn, sparked the modern day cannabis movement.
For example, Peron — whose partner Jonathan West died from AIDS — rallied for legal medical cannabis use. Peron was inspired to do so after he saw how cannabis eased the side effects of the illness, such as loss of appetite and nausea. Peron later co-founded one of the nation’s first medical dispensaries, the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club. He also co-authored Prop 215, which voters passed in 1996, making California the first state in the U.S. to approve medical cannabis use. Now 36 states and counting have passed pro-cannabis legislation with compassionate care programs.
Among these is California’s SB-34, or the Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary Act. The act allows cannabis companies to donate free cannabis to medical patients for a variety of conditions.
While the list of qualifying conditions for such programs varies in each state, many allow patients with pain, nausea, eating disorders, and Post Tramatic Stress DIsorder (PTSD) to legally use cannabis.
Furthermore, many also find cannabis effective at relieving anxiety and promoting healing.
Marval A. Rechsteiner, who transitioned from a biological female to a male with the use of cannabis, previously explains to Emerald:
“In the past when the panic attacks began I was prescribed Xanax to calm me down. Now, I use cannabis in specific ways. During my transition with hormone replacement therapy I was smoking, as it lifts your mood fairly quickly. But tincture is by far my best option in terms of calming my fear down. I don’t get blazed out of my mind on it, it helps me to get into my body and feel good inside my body – which for someone like me who has disassociated for such a long time – is deeply healing.”
As the industry grows, it’s important to remain conscious and support the activists, patients and entrepreneurs who’ve helped strive for access to cannabis, and pave the path toward legalization.
Conscious Consumption: 100+ LGBTQIA+ Owned Cannabis Companies to Support Right Now
This is an on-going list. Emerald will continue to update it. Please reach out or comment below to be included. Click here for list of Black-Owned Cannabis Businesses, Latinx-Owned Cannabis Businesses, Asian-Owned Businesses and here for a list of Indigenous-Owned Cannabis Businesses.
- 4:20 Friendly (Spokane, Wash.) is a medical and recreational dispensary. The shop carries a range of cannabis products from Washington-based companies, including flower, concentrates, RSO, edibles, pre-rolls, topicals and more. Founded by Carol Ehrhart and Alissa Taylor.
- MARYJAE (Austin, Texas) is a cannabis dispensary/CBD shop located in downtown Austin. MARYJAE sells a variety of infused products, ranging from tinctures, to gummies, to teas, vapes, topicals — and even goodies for canines. The company also carries lifestyle products, including apparel. Founded by Jae Graham.
- SPARC (San Francisco) is a medical and recreational cannabis dispensary and weed delivery service founded by Erich Pearson. “SPARC began in 1998 as a trailblazer in medical cannabis, and today continues to originate and propagate many of the industry’s most rigorous quality-control practices,” states SPARC’s website. “[…] SPARC is committed to advancing the standards of how cannabis is cultivated, packaged and retailed industry-wide, and being a force for good in the neighborhoods and communities we call home.” The company’s products are sustainably grown at their Sonoma County estate “in fully organic, biodynamic fields using only natural sunlight,” the website adds.
- The People’s Dispensary (Portland, Ore.) is a cannabis dispensary with locations in Oregon, California, and Illinois (some of which are individually-owned by local entrepreneurs). National co-founders include Christine De La Rosa, Michael Schlieker and Chef Charleen Caabay.
Delivery and Distribution:
- Breeze Distribution (Oakland, Calif.) is a cannabis supply chain solutions company. Services include: sourcing, white labeling, distribution, packaging, processing, and storage. Breeze Distribution is a subsidiary of LLC Products, Inc. — a cannabis wholesale and manufacturing company — founded by Amber Senter, who is also the co-founder of Supernova Women and Shady Pines Box Club.
- Green Box (Portland, Ore.) “is a local and family-owned cannabis subscription and on-demand delivery service. [Co]-founded in 2016 by Adrian Wayman, a Black and gay entrepreneur, and his father in law, Bob Wayman, a Vietnam war veteran,” writes Green Box’s website.
- Shady Pines Box Club (Bay Area) is a subscription box service. Shady Pines’ boxes feature handpicked cannabis products, and delivers throughout the Bay Area. Founded by multi-entrepreneur Amber Senter who also founded Breeze Distribution and co-founded Supernova Women.
- Wings of Wellness (Southern California) is a licensed medical cannabis delivery service that serves the Orange County and Inland Empire regions in Southern California. Wings of Wellness carries flower, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, topicals, vapes and more. Founded by Leon Mostovoy, who also co-founded Pride Wellness.
- Stone Road (Nevada City, Calif.) is a sustainable cannabis flower brand founded by Lex Corwin. Stone Road grows their cannabis on the company’s biodynamic family farm, and uses 99% recyclable packaging made from recycled goods. Products include pre-rolls, flower and concentrates.
- Tuff-n-Tendergrass (Mendocino County, Calif.) is a sun-grown cannabis farm. Founded by Joe Tullgren. According to the company’s Natural Cannabis profile, Tuff-n-Tendergrass is “a queer owned and operated faerie farm. TNT, formerly Queen, are seed savers, collectors, tenders, preservers, with practices rooted in tradition; blending intuition and science to create magic.”
- Ventoso Farms (Mendocino County, California) is one “of the first women owned and operated canna farms in Mendo,” according to the farm’s Instagram, which also described the company as a “Queer to table” brand. Co-founded by Linnet Lockhart, Michelle Peqaloza, and Alex Cummings, “who have more than 45 years of cannabis growing experience combined,” writes WeedMaps.
- A Boring Life (Boring, Ore.) “makes chef curated foods to support a more relaxed lifestyle,” explains the company’s website. A Boring Life’s product lineup — which includes snack mixes for humans and treats for pets — features CBD products, made with organic, full-spectrum hemp. Founded by Chef Jen Johnson and Serafina Palandech in August 2018.
- Altered Plates (L.A.) “is a hospitality consulting group […] helmed by brother-sister duo Chef Holden Jagger and Rachel Burkons,” writes the company’s website. “Altered Plates specializes in compliant CBD/cannabis-related culinary education, events, content creation, brand and product development, and culinary brand activations.” Co-founded by Rachel Burkons.
- Aplós (Miami) creates flavored “hemp-infused, non-alcoholic spirit[s],” according to the company’s website. The beverages include 20 mg of broad-spectrum hemp per serving. Co-founded by David Fudge, Jessica Manley, and Emily Onkey.
- Calexo (L.A.) “makes sparkling cannabis beverages made with high-quality fruit juices, plant essences, and nano-emulsified THC,” reports Queerency. It’s precisely dosed for a controlled, uplifting experience,” according to the company’s LinkedIn. Co-founded by Ken Pelletier, Ian Cohen and Brandon Andrew.
- CANN (L.A.) creates micro-dosed beverages with THC and CBD. CANN’s Social Tonics are non-alcohol, vegan and gluten-free. “[…] With only 30-35 calories, each Cann has five all-natural ingredients with a strength that is similar to a beer or glass of wine. There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors, sugar substitutes, or cannabis taste,” according to the company’s LinkedIn. Co-founded by Luke Anderson and Jake Bullock.
- Chef Zairilla Bacon, who was featured Chef on ViceLand’s The Most Expensiveness, “now brings to you a new line of CBD products featuring her exclusive CBD and tea-infused spices. Chef Z has spent years developing these spices to give at-home cooks a similar experience to that which she provides when cooking for the STARS,” writes Chef Bacon’s website. Bacon also produces CBD-infused topicals and tinctures.
- FreeLeaf (L.A.) is “the World’s first and only cannabis product that completely mimics the odor and taste of herbs like Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme, but which are 100% cannabis with no additives,” explains the company’s website. FreeLeaf currently offers pre-rolls, culinary herbs, and culinary oils with beverages coming soon. Founded by Chef Jeff Danzer aka Jeff the 420 Chef, who is also the author of The 420 Gourmet: The Art of Elevated Cannabis Cuisine cookbook, and host of the Wake and Bake with JeffThe420Chef podcast.
- Ganjalas (Telluride, Colorado) is an edibles company founded by Geneva Shaunette, Laura Shaunette, and Elena Levin. “These three queer friends and entrepreneurs got their start in 2013 in a small cannabis kitchen in Telluride, Colorado. At the forefront of legalization, they worked together at Alpine Wellness to manage one of the very first retail cannabis dispensaries in the nation, and to launch a variety of edible lines to shops across Colorado, including the cult favorite – The Ganjala. Affectionately named after the Telluride Gondola, Ganjalas were the industry’s very first single serving edible, requiring dynamic scaling with changing regulations and the creation of a whole new class of child resistant packaging,” the company tells Emerald.
- House of Saka (Napa Valley, Claif.) is a cannabis-infused beverage company that specializes in alcohol-removed wines. “House of Saka Infused Beverages are crafted from grapes picked at the peak of ripeness from select vineyards with California’s iconic Napa Valley infused with our proprietary CBD:THC formulation for a truly elevated cannabis experience,” writes House of Saka’s website. Co-founded by Cynthia Salarizadeh and Tracey Mason.
- Jeff the 420 Chef (L.A.) aka Chef Jeff Danzer is author of The 420 Gourmet: The Art of Elevated Cannabis Cuisine cookbook, host of the Wake and Bake with JeffThe420Chef podcast, and inventor of Culinary Cannabis [FreeLeaf] — odorless smokable cannabis flower and “tasteless” canna-oil and cannabutter, explains Chef Jeff’s website. “He rose to prominence as one of the world’s top cannabis chefs by using molecular gastronomy and culinary deconstruction to reinvent the cannabis consumption experience. Jeff is also the Executive Chef of Monica’s House, a cannabis edibles consumption lounge in West Hollywood.”
- Madame Munchie (L.A.) was founded by Kim Geraghty. “All Madame Munchie products are handcrafted with love, using natural, locally sourced ingredients. Our premium cannabis is sungrown and comes from our family owned farm in Mendocino County,” writes the company’s website. Madame Munchie’s offerings include the company’s award-winning, gluten-free macarons, gummies, spreads, peanut butter, and pre-rolled joints with mouthwatering strains like lava cake.
- SŌMATIK (San Francisco) is a craft edibles company that creates infused cold brew coffees, THC coffee beans, and bite-sized berry bites. Founded by Christopher Schroeder.
- Tempo Crackers (Canoga Park, Calif.) is an infused snacks company. “Each cracker is handmade with simple, delicious ingredients and dosed at 2mg so you can go at your own pace. We strongly believe low dose and low cost are keys to the savory snack category and critical to expanding cannabis adoption,” writes the company’s website. Co-founded by Robert Holland.
- The Green Baker (West Palm Beach, Fla.) is an edibles brand, podcast, and blog created by cannabis chef, connoisseur and advocate, Angie Willoughby. Willoughby, an Afro-Latina queer women, believes in the medicinal, recreational and financial power of the cannabis plant.
- WYLD (Portland, Ore.) is “Oregon’s leading cannabis edible brand. We create products infused with real-fruit ingredients and flavors that embody the true Pacific Northwest culture,” explains the company’s website. Co-founded by Aaron Morris, Chris Joseph and Rene Kaza.
Organizations and Events:
- Cannabis Science Conference or CSC Events, LLC., “is the world’s largest and most technical cannabis scientific and medical cannabis events,” according to the company’s website. “Our conferences pull together cannabis industry experts, instrument manufacturers, testing labs, research scientists, medical practitioners, policy makers and interested novices. Our semi-annual events are aimed at improving cannabis science and education.” Founded by Josh Crossney, also the founder of jCanna.
- Cannabis Travel Association International (CTAI) is a “registered Non-Profit advancing safe and responsible Cannabis Tourism. Committed to cultivating open communication, social equity and environmental sustainability, the CTAI was established to represent and support the diverse voices and perspectives of the emerging Cannabis Tourism industry,” according to the organization’s website. “The organization originally started as the California Cannabis Tourism Association (CCTA) founded in 2017. In 2021 it changed its name– as well as its geographic focus– to the newly branded Cannabis Travel Association International (CTAI).” Founded by Brian Applegarth, who also founded The Cannabis Trail.
- Copper House Detroit (Detroit) is a space for canna-activists. Copper House is also a bed and breakfast, which hosts events. The Detroit-based home is located in the city’s “Northwest side, right off of the Avenue of Fashion, which has the highest concentration of Black-owned businesses in the US,” explains Copper House’s website. Founded by Jess and Cara Jackson.
- jCanna (Baltimore, Md.) is a “501(c)3 non-profit organization comprised of affiliates including cannabis industry insiders, scientists, medical doctors, policy makers and interested novices working together to advance awareness of legal, medicinal cannabis related topics,” explains the organization’s website. Founded by Josh Crossney, who also founded the Cannabis Science Conference.
- LGBTQ+ Cannabis is a community that connects “folx of the Queer and cannabis communities” with a focus on Queer intimacy, equality and visiblity, writes the organization’s Instagram. Co-founded by Erica DeLoach, and Tara Caruso and Kayla Caruso, who are also the co-founders of Pride Marketplace.
- Marijuana Matters (Washington, D.C.) or M2 was founded by Khadijah Tribble. M2 is “a non-profit that identifies and eliminates barriers to economic opportunity in regulated cannabis markets for those disadvantaged by marijuana’s criminalization,” Tribble tells Washington Blade.
- Our Academy (L.A.) is “a workshop, mentorship, and resource group of individuals and companies in the cannabis industry that are open to knowledge sharing and supporting social equity qualified applicants, partners, and other disproportionately impacted and targeted communities of the war on drugs (i.e. refugees, immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community),” writes the organization’s website. Co-founded by Hilary L. Yu, and Timeka Drew, who also founded Biko.
- Proud Mary Network is an advocacy, education and networking organization. “In an age when queers and cannabis are fighting for inclusivity, we strive to support and diversify the emerging cannabis industry through education, networking and advocacy,” writes Proud Mary’s website. Co-founded by Brie Brewer, Shay Gilmore, and Allen Paxton.
- Supernova Women (Oakland, Calif.) is a national, “women of color led non-profit organization with a mission to empower people of color to become self-sufficient shareholders in the cannabis industry. We do this through education, advocacy, and network building,” according to the organization’s website. Co-founded in 2015 by multi-entrepreneurs and advocates Amber Senter, Tsion “Sunshine” Lencho, and Nina Parks.
- The Cannabis Trail (Northern California) is a soon-to-launch experience that “travels from Santa Cruz to Weaverville. It will exist as an iconic cultural and historical trail, and serve as a third pillar alongside the Marin Cheese Trail and the Napa Wine Road. The Cannabis Trail will draw travelers, history buffs, cultural connoisseurs and cannabis enthusiasts seeking a memorable, immersive experience,” according to the organization’s website. Founded by multi-entrepreneur, Brian Applegarth, who also founded Cannabis Travel Association International.
- The Full Spectrum (Seattle) is a community of “LGBTQ and Allied Cannabis Industry Professionals,” according to the company’s website. The Full Spectrum “engages in the creation and production of beneficial resources, events and activities to expand cultural awareness, empower individuals, and strengthen community.” Founded by Neil Lequia.
- #thisisjaneproject (L.A.) is a “non-profit organization that sheds light, builds community, and uplifts the lives of women and non-binary trauma survivors,” according to the organization’s website. Co-founded by Bri Smith and Shannon DeGrooms.
- Veterinary Cannabis Society (St. Petersburg, Fla.) is “a nonprofit organization working towards an educated and empowered global veterinary medical cannabis community,” write the organization’s LinkedIn. Veterinary Cannabis Society — whose mission is to educate and inform on the safe use of cannabis in veterinary medicine — offers membership to veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals, pet parents, and industry professionals. Co-founded by Dr. Beth Mironchik-Frankenberg and Dr. Trina Hazzah, also the founder of Green Nile Consulting.
- Besito (L.A.) features vapes and pre-rolls. Pre-rolls, which come in mini and standard sizes, are made with California-grown strains, including Sour Diesel and Chedawg, while vapes come with a ratio of 2:1 THC to CBD. Founded by Maggie Connors.
- Caitlin Rose Sweet (location) “crafts ritual objects and folk spells to enhance your practice and radical self-care. Everything is made in small batches,” writes the company’s website. Founder Caitlin Rose Sweet is an artist that works with ceramics and clay. Sweet’s current products include pipes, bowls, one-hitters, mugs, sculptures and more.
- Cushy Cones (Miami and Portland, Ore.) is a line of pre-rolled papers made from organic hemp. The vibrant, sometimes trippy designs are made using nontoxic, plant-based, edible soy oils. Created by Alexis Fernandez and Victoria Rodriguez.
- Drew Martin (California) is a pre-roll company whose joints feature a “curated blend of sun-grown cannabis and globally inspired botanicals,” write Drew Martin’s website. The company sources the flower for their hand-rolled joints from a small, organic family farm in Mendocino County, California. Founded by mixologist and herbalist, Drew Martin.
- High Hemp Co (Sanford, Fla.) is “one of the first all organic herbal wrap companies who pride themselves on a cleaner, more flavorful smoke. We’re breaking the trend of tobacco based products and creating better alternatives,” according to the company’s website. Founded by Paola Fernandez.
- James Henry (San Francisco) is a lifestyle, flower, and delivery service founded by John Henry and James Victor. The brand focuses on responsible alternatives to over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
- Ken Ahbus (Denver) is “Mary Jane’s alter ego.” Ken Ahbus features cannabis-centric apparel and lifestyle products for the sophisticated stone. “Not everything has to be tie dye and have a giant pot leaf on it. Rather, you’ll never see a pot leaf on our clothing and I offer my products in every color you want so long as it is black, white, pink or grey,” writes the company’s website. Founded by Sara Gluck.
- MD Numbers, Inc. (San Francisco) is a cultivation, distribution, consulting and delivery company, according to MD Numbers’ website. The company’s family of brands includes MD Farms, Marie’s Deliverables, and Legacy Coterie. Co-founded by Marie Montmarquet and Allen Hackett.
- Nekktar (North Carolina) “is on a mission to build cannabis accessories that elevate everyday living — for everyone. Their first product BUZZBOXX ensures discreet, reliable, and stylish cannabis storage — eliminating odor, protecting against water, and prolonging freshness all in the palm of your hand. As a Black, Queer, and Woman-Owned brand, NEKKTAR focuses on elevating everyday living for everyone through their commitment to the environment and their contributions to organizations like Equal Justice Initiative and TransTech Social Enterprises,” the company tells Emerald. Founded by Julia Loni Turner.
- Newera/Nouera (San Francisco Bay Area) is a “conscious entertainment company that curates premium experiences and pairs it with cannabis,” according to the company’s website, which also explains that Newera aims to build an events/entertainment venue and wellness center in San Francisco. Co-founded by Jessica Sharp and Cynthia Boedihardjo.
- Perez Strategy LLC (San Francisco) is a “strategic consulting firm focused on launching and scaling cannabis startups, retail operations, delivery services, and brands by implementing technology solutions for rapid growth,” writes the company’s LinkedIn. Founded by Isamarie Perez.
- Pleasure Peaks (Toronto, Canada) is a women’s sexual health company, founded by Antuanette Gomez. The organic, pH balanced products are geared toward pain and pleasure, and menstrual pain, dyspareunia, endometriosis, rape survivors, and more.
- Pride Marketplace is a “virtual LGBTQIA+ farmer’s market,” writes the company’s website. “[W]e created a safe space where the LGBTQIA+ community can come together to connect, collaborate, and share their businesses, creations [and] offerings. Without the hassle of a colonized patriarchy dictating our every hashtag or body part. Or capitalism running us into the ground, while profiting off our exploitation.” Co-founded by Erica DeLoach, and Tara and Kayla Caruso, who are also the co-founders of LGBTQ Cannabis.
- ReCreate (location) is a brand that offers edibles, tinctures, gummies and more — all made using an Aryuvedic blend of botanicals, including full-spectrum cannabis. Recreate is founded by The Stanley Brothers, who are also the creators of Charlotte’s Web.
- Sonder (Mendocino County, California) is a cannabis brand with deep roots in the Emerald Triangle. Co-founded by the wife-and-wife team, Faun Chapin and M. Paradise. “All of the cannabis grown on our family-run farms in Mendocino County is tended to by master growers Leif and Jessica Bolin using sustainable farming practices. As second generation cannabis farmers – each taught by their mothers – these practices have been passed down and combined with modern cultivation techniques to grow 100% pesticide free, sun grown cannabis, rich in flavorful terpenes and cannabinoids,” according to Sonder’s website.
- Sundae School (New York and L.A.), co-founded by Mia Park, Jennifer Tran and Dae Lim, is a “design studio and a craft cannabis brand,” with a focus on education, explains the company’s LinkedIn. The brand features boutique smokewear, the company’s website explains, including hoodies, masks and more.
- Sway Blunts (Portland, Ore.) is a CBD blunt company that features hemp paper blunts, thaisticks, pinners, slims and more. Founded by Melody Wright and Sonia Fay Wright.
- Terps not Terfs is a “trans-led, cannabis driven initiative dedicated to equity and inclusivity,” writes the company’s Instagram. The brand features “everyday apparel and accessories that allows people to stand against the anti-trans rhetoric that still persists.” Founded by Andrea Flowers.
- The Congo Club (Bay Area) is a line of flower. “Cultivated exclusively in partnership with Red Top Farms, The Congo Club flower is grown utilizing water reclamation practices, solar power and double tier LED light systems to create an indoor efficiency model,” writes the company’s description on Sava. “The Congo Club is one of the few places that carry the Red Congolese strain, which provides an electrifying, thought provoking and optimistic high.” Founded by multi-entrepreneur Amber Senter, who also founded Breeze Distribution, Shady Pines Box Club, as well as co-founded Supernova Women.
- The Farmaceuticals Co. (San Rafael, Calif.) is an award-winning brand that creates chemical-free, solventless oils in small batches. Formulations, which are created with olive oil, include CBD and THC. Co-founded by Robin Abelson and Chaos Gibbons.
- The Flower Daddy (L.A.) is a lifestyle brand founded by florist and event planner Jamie Lee McCormick. McCormick creates arrangements and more for events, boutiques, and weddings using fresh flowers from local vendors for his creations, some of which include cannabis.
- Trannabis (L.A.) is a lifestyle activism company bridging the gap between the LGBTQAI2S+ and cannabis communities; with a focus on ending the stigma of cannabis, and fear in the kitchen, through the intuitive cannabis cooking show, The Trannabis Kitchen. As the Host, Chef Trannabis creates infused dishes through a spiritual wellness lens, while interviewing a special guest typically cooking on the other side of the screen.
Media, PR, and Consulting:
- Anye Elite is a “rapper, activist and businessman who’s work on LGBT rights, cannabis de-stigmatization and entrepreneurship for underrepresented communities has earned him numerous awards and press mentions,” writes Icon City Entertainment’s website, of which Elite is founded.
- Balbuena Consulting (San Diego) is a “full-service commercial cannabis consulting firm, specializing in license and permit acquisition, according to founder Johann Balbuena’s LinkedIn. Balbuena is also the founder of Cannabis Synergy and author of The Successful Cannapreneur.
- Brave New Weed (New York City) is a podcast created by Joe Dolce that features “high-minded conversations for the post-prohibition era,” according to the podcast’s website. Episodes focus on everything from terpenes, to what happens when you eat too many edibles, and more. Dolce is also the author of the book Brave New Weed: Adventures Into the Uncharted World of Cannabis.
- Cannabis: A Big Sister’s Guide “is a handy manual for those who want to learn the fundamentals of cannabis and its medicinal benefits. Amidst a woven reflection of the Meades’ personal explorations, it invites readers along their inaugural cannabis journeys,” explains the Emerald’s Sam Wahl. Written by sisters Anna May and Mary Meade. The Meades also operate the website What’s the Buzz.
- Cannabis & Home Grow Show with Marc Eden is a podcast that welcomes listeners to “explore the world of growing cannabis, cannabis education, the cannabis industry and cannabis advocacy with Marc Eden, Cannabis Podcaster and Founder of Green Carpet Growing,” explains the podcast’s website.
- Cannabis Synergy (San Diego) is a “universe of cannabis education, entertainment, consultancy, and content creation,” according to the company’s website. Founded by Johann Balbuena, also the founder of Balbuena Consulting.
- Cannabis USA is a “full-service marketing and consulting agency dedicated to growing cannabis brands and products nationwide,” writes the company’s website. Co-founded by Lucia Cifonelli and Tim Haughinberry, who is also the president of the The Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Nevada (GLCCNV). The GLCCNV “supports LGBTQ business owners by encouraging federal, state, and local implementation of pro-business, LGBTQ-inclusive policies,” Cannabis USA explains.
- Different Leaf (Northampton, Mass.) is a quarterly magazine that “provides a road map to the evolving landscape for new and experienced cannabis consumers over 45 years old in Massachusetts,” writes the publication’s LinkedIn. “Each issue features a mix of editorial that explores the medical, legal and social topics as well as food, nutrition and fitness, travel and tourism, arts and culture as well as the broad array of products available” Founded by Michael Kusek.
- Emerald Media, which includes Emerald Magazine, is an independent, woman-owned and operated media company founded in Humboldt County, California and now based in New York. The cannabis news and culture publication, which focuses on social equity, was founded in 2012 by Christina de Giovanni.
- Emily Eizen is a “multimedia artist working in the mediums of painting, sculpture, photography, modeling, and home decor. Her ‘60s psychedelic inspired works showcase the beauty, freedom and diversity Eizen considers essential to establishing equity in the cannabis space and beyond. Emily’s portfolio and commissions highlight her ability to adapt to different styles and aesthetic[s] across spectrums of gender and sexuality, defying convention,” write Eizen’s website.
- Green Carpet Growing (San Diego) “is a cannabis cultivation consultancy,” writes the company’s LinkedIn. “Since 2017, Green Carpet Growing’s mission has been to teach, coach and train people how to grow cannabis at home through personal instruction. We believe face to face interaction is the ultimate way to learn to grow. Through personal instruction, our team of home grow teachers and consultants empower people to grow cannabis at home indoors, outdoors, via soil or hydroponics.” Founded by Marc Eden, also the host of the podcast, The Cannabis & Home Grow Show with Marc Eden.
- HollyWeed North Cannabis, Inc. (California and British Columbia, Canada) “provides cross-border cannabis product research, development, licensing and legal production services for individuals, companies, and associations,” according to the company’s LinkedIn. “We specialize in risk mitigation, Best Production Practice implementation and pharmaceutical level manufacturing and production of Cannabis containing medical and recreational products.” Founded by Renee Gagnon.
- Hotline (L.A.) “is a Black and Queer-owned boutique creative communications agency located in Los Angeles. We specialize in building and invigorating consumer lifestyle brands with our wit, skill and storytelling. Our world is ever-expanding and includes cannabis, spirits, beverages, wellness and categories that defy labels,” write the company’s website. Co-founded by Ryan Robles.
- Shanita Blunt is a model and multimedia artist based in L.A.
- Smoke and Sound is a “content platform powered by Icon City Entertainment for cannabis news and related musical content and events,” writes the company’s website. Founded by Anye Elite.
- Just Another Joint (Arizona) is a cannabis photography, marketing, and creative services company that’s focused on linking the LBGT and cannabis communities, according to the company’s Instagram. Co-founded by Cameron Ray Rexroat and Nick Abell.
- Laganja Estranja aka Jay Jackson, “is a world-renowned female illusionist, choreographer, music artist, cannabis advocate and LGBTQ+ icon,” writes Estranja’s website. “As a cannabis rights activist, Laganja has hosted conversations on cannabis legalization at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, and at Impulse in San Francisco. She has also been featured twice in High Times Magazine as well as on the cover of Dope Magazine, making her the first LGBTQ+ advocate/female illusionist on the cover of a cannabis magazine. Laganja is actively developing her lifestyle brand that includes pre-rolls, vegan gummies and more to come.”
- PufCreativ (Denver) is “an award-winning, community-focused cannabis marketing firm – creating custom strategies and advertising solutions. Social media management, content creation, SEO, website development and graphic design are just a few of the services offered,” explains the company’s LinkedIn. Co-founded by John Shute and Katie Burrell.
- Sophie Saint Thomas is an author of Sex Witch: Magickal Spells for Love, Lust, and Self-Protection, The Little Book of CBD for Self-Care, and Finding Your Higher Self: Your Guide to Cannabis for Self-Care. Her work has appeared in High Times, GQ, Playboy, and PRIDE, and more.
- The Alpine Collective (Boulder, Colo.) was “founded by Hannah DeWitt, a creative born to a family of artists in a small central-Florida town. Hannah graduated with a degree in Fine Arts-from the University of Florida- specializing in Drawing and Installation art,” writes the company’s website. The Alpine Collective offers photography, consulting, creative direction and content creation services.
- The High Country Girls (Denver) or THC Girls is a cannabis marketing and branding agency owned by Krista Jones. Services include strategy sessions, and staffing in addition to advertising. THC Girls also provides models for events and sells merchandise.
- The Fresh Toast (Seattle, Wash.) is “a lifestyle and entertainment platform with a side of cannabis served fresh daily, featuring pop culture, news, food + drink, gossip and more.,” according to the company’s LinkedIn. The platform also syndicates content to media outlets worldwide. Founded by JJ McKay.
- The Successful Cannapreneur: The Practical Guide to Thrive in the Legal Cannabis Space is a book that provides guidance on starting a cannabis business. Written by entrepreneur Johann Balbuena. Balbuena is also the founder of Cannabis Synergy and Balbuena Consulting.
- TheWeedTube “was launched on March 1, 2018 by a group of deleted YouTubers in search of a site to call home. Since its launch TheWeedTube has evolved into the home for curated cannabis content. A place where creators can not only have a guaranteed safe place for their content to live, but they can also be compensated for their hard work. TheWeedTube is also the first site to provide commercial based advertising for cannabis related companies,” according to TheWeedTube’s website. Co-founded by Arend Richard and Mackenzie McCurry.
- Vanguard Media, which includes Vanguard Magazine, was founded by Tiffany Watkins aka LadyCanna, to celebrate women in the cannabis industry. Watkins, a 30-year cannabis industry veteran, founded the media outlet with a focus on equity, unity, and closing the gap between the sexes in the industry, explains the company’s LinkedIn. Vanguard offers print and digital magazines, and presents a “Women of the Year” award.
- Wake and Bake with JeffThe420Chef is a podcast dedicated to teaching listeners how to use cannabis to elevate their lives. Hosted by Jeff the 420 Chef aka Chef Jeff Danzer is author of The 420 Gourmet: The Art of Elevated Cannabis Cuisine cookbook and FreeLeaf.
- WEEDBAR LA is an events company that specializes in curating private, community and corporate events. WEEDBAR LA “pairs local chefs, experienced budtenders, the finest ingredients, and the highest quality of cannabis for your event,” according to the company’s website. Events feature everything from dab bars, to infused massages, to pinatas filled with edibles. Founded by Cat Goldberg.
- BLUNT Skincare (L.A.) is a hemp-infused skin care brand. The company’s line of non-toxic, cruelty-free, vegan face oils target dryness, inflammation and more. The line includes three varieties: SEED, MOONROCK and ISOLATE. Founded by Stas Chirkov.
- Brown Sugar Botanicals (Oakland, Calif.) is a socially-minded company that uses organic herbs and whole-plant hemp or CBD isolate in their products. Brown Sugar Botanicals sources “organic plant materials from our own communities. We proudly source our herbs from LGBTQ / BIPOC / women-owned farms and gardens,” according to the company’s website. Co-founded by Chris Wakefield and Kalima Amilak.
- CannaPride (San Diego) is a CBD company created by New York natives Kayla and Tara Caruso. “CBD and cannabis has greatly impacted their lives for the better, and they want to share that same potential with as many people as possible,” write CannaPride’s website. All the company products — which include tinctures, gummies and topicals — are third-party tested. The Caruso’s also co-founded LGBTQ+ Cannabis and Pride Marketplace.
- Charlotte’s Web (Boulder, Colo.) produces oil, gummies, capsules, and topical formulas made with hemp extract. According to the company’s website, it “started as a mission. Our extract was something we initially gave away to people who could benefit from it. To a few and then many.” Founded by the Stanley Brothers.
- Empower BodyCare (Clackamas, Ore.) develops “CBD topicals to enhance wellness and encourage more moments of everyday calm. Our CBD lotions, oils and soaking salts contain a selection of premium, plant-based ingredients ranging from organic carrier oils and aromatherapeutic essential oils to CBD derived from USDA-certified organic hemp,” writes Empower BodyCare’s website. Founded by Trista Okel.
- Melanated Medicinals (Prospect, Va.), according to the company’s website, are “QTPOC centered and accessible, vegan, organic herbal care products made with love by a trans-woman! Sun (she/they) offers majik, limpias, space cleansing, empowerment rites and more. Intuition, African and Curanderx traditions are pulled from heavily in the making of these herbal formulas.” Founded by Sun English Jr.
- Peak Extracts (Portland, Ore.) was co-founded by Kate Black and Katie Stem. The company offers four different products lines, including: “strain-specific, CO2 oil infused Tinctures, […] full-spectrum, terpene-rich extracts, [h]and-crafted chocolate infused with strain-specific CO2 extract, [and the] award-winning topical salve, Rescue RubTM. All products are double tested for purity, uniformity, and potency,” write the company’s website.
- UNOIA CBD (Atlanta) is a CBD honey and agave company based in Atlanta. Co-founded by power couple Brandé Elise and Danielle Grey, UNOIA is on a mission to bring mindfulness, beautiful thinking and inclusivity to the cannabis industry.
- Xula (Mexico City) is a “Latinx and Black-owned hemp brand conceived in Mexico City—organically grown in the USA,” writes the company’s LinkedIn. “Our products are focused on helping women and femmes feel themselves through the transformative power of herbs targeted towards menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, hormonal balance, sleep and anxiety.” Founded by Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey and Karina Primelles.
- Roshi (San Francisco) is a software platform made for (co-) manufacturers, processors, and distributors. The platform helps cannabis businesses centralize operations such as inventory and METRC compliance. Co-founded by Celia Carter, Heidi Hudson and Jason West.
- Sava (San Francisco) is a platform that helps consumers discover cannabis products. “At Sava, we rigorously vet the vast world of cannabis and hand-pick the highest quality products, tailored to real-life needs that range anywhere from post-marathon pain relief to good old-fashioned relaxation,” explains Sava’s website. Co-founded by Andrea Brooks and Amanda Denz.
Health, Wellness and Beauty:
- Green Nile Consulting (L.A.) is a soon to launch company that provides consultations with veterinarians and pet parents on the safety, research and implementation of cannabis for patients,” writes founder Dr. Trina Hazzah’s website. Dr. Hazzah is also the co-founder of the Veterinary Cannabis Society.
- Holly Warner Health was founded by Holly Warner, a cannabis educator and thyroid and autoimmune specialist that focuses on hormone balancing. Warner advocates for CBD for treating pain, and offers cannabinoid consulting and cannabinoid therapy services.
- Medical Cannabis Mentor offers “state of the art online medical cannabis education for dispensary personnel, healthcare providers and patients,” according to the website. Co-founded by Dr. Junella Chin and Joe Dolce. Dolce is also the creator of the Brave New Weed podcast.
- Mendi (Portland, Ore.) is an all-natural cannabis brand for athletes. Mendi’s core and base products are made with hemp, and include tincture, gummies, and topicals like massage oils, sticks, and more. Co-founded by Kendra Freeman, Rachael Rapione and Brett Schwager.
- Pride Wellness (L.A.) was co-founded by Buck Angel and Leon Mostovoy. Pride Wellness is an LGBTQ-focused cannabis company, Angel tells VoyageLA. One dollar from each purchase goes directly to the L.A. LGBT Center. “Pride Wellness products are designed to help people struggling with mood, anxiety, and sleep difficulties, addiction, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic illnesses and pain conditions, as well as those who just want to kick back, relax and enjoy,” explains a Greenstone Companies description of Pride Wellness.
- Stigma (California) is a cannabis lifestyle brand that features apparel and CBD products. According to the company’s website, “Stigma is a growing community of all different ages and backgrounds from around the world who believe in shattering the “lazy stoner” stereotype. Active, productive, and successful members of society who use cannabis to support our overall health and wellness. Together, we’re educating others and helping redefine cannabis.” Co-founded by brother and sister duo, Anthony and Nicole Gonzales.
- The New Society for Wellness is a (New York City) or NSFW is a club dedicated to cannabis and sexual wellness. It “is a private members club which caters to socially driven troublemakers and tastemakers. Members are approved based on 14-points of attraction including desires, compatibility, intelligence and contributions to our community,” according to NSFW’s website. Founded by Daniel Saynt.
- The Pot Lab (L.A.) is a cooperative, and an eco-medical research center that’s focused on developing 100% vegan, organic formulations using plant oils and extracts. Founded by Dr. Brandie M. Cross.
- Trannabis Chi (L.A.) is a plant-powered wellness solution for spiritual and ambitiously high-achieving couples who want to deepen their intimacy and love by living a more balanced, healthier life.
- Vishuddha Vision (Illinois) was founded by Erica DeLoach, who also co-founded Pride Marketplace and LGBTQ+ Cannabis. DeLoach is an artist, certified yoga instructor, trauma-informed health worker, cannabis educator, social media manager, and content creator. Vishuddha Vision’s offerings include massage therapy, bodywork and health consultations, sound healing and more.
This is an on-going list. The Emerald will continue to update it. Please reach out or comment below to be included. Click here for list of Black-Owned Cannabis Businesses, Latinx-Owned Cannabis Businesses, Asian-Owned Businesses and here for a list of Indigenous-Owned Cannabis Businesses.