Although Pride month has come to an end, it’s never too late to honor cannabis companies that support our queer communities.
Papa & Barkley joined the list of cannabis businesses that support LGBTQIA+ communities in June 2022. The company showed their support through partnering with queer influencers, Grey and Grayson, and by donating a percentage of online sales to COLORS Youth Counseling Services.
Based in California, COLORS Youth offers free and unlimited mental health services for local LGBTQIA+ youth under 25 years of age. The organization’s mission is to, “…provide LGBTQ+ affirmative therapy that addresses LGBTQ+ identity, self-esteem, bullying and oppression in order to nurture and empower youth to realize their highest potential,” which is stated on COLORS’ website.
In addition to supporting local non profits that benefit the health of the LGBTQIA+ community, P&B has launched their partnership with an intersectional queer couple who have been long time fans of their products, Grayson and Grey.
Emerald Magazine sat down with the popular TikTok couple, @OfficiallyVeryGay (also known as the “unofficial gay parents of TikTok”), to discuss their recent partnership with Papa & Barkley. Grey is gender-fluid and Afro-Indigenous who goes by all pronouns, while Grayson is transmasculine who goes by he/they pronouns
Grayson and Grey have been fans of Papa & Barkley throughout the entirety of their relationship, using products for pain relief and edibles for relaxation before bed – Grey mentions how they used the brand’s 1:3 THC Releaf Balm and 1:3 Releaf Body Oil to ease Grayson’s back pain. Grey says the products certainly came in handy when Grayson was recovering from transition surgery, “We weren’t expecting for [Grayson] to have a huge aversion to the painkillers, he was basically allergic to every painkiller they gave him.”
While pharmaceutical medications failed Grayson, the couple relied on Papa & Barkley’s products to provide them with much needed pain-free relief. Grayson even tells Emerald Magazine about how much they value and even recommend P&B products, “We get to use [these products] for ourselves, for many different reasons, and also [whenever] a guest comes over.” Grey laughingly adds, “Grayson’s very giving with any balm – If anyone comes over with a backache or anything, he’s like, ‘’You should try some of this. Put it on your shoulders.”
Papa & Barkley clearly was a special to Grayson and Grey’s relationship and they began receiving mailers – mail with items sent to consumers by a company – from P&B and were invited to P&B Kitchen’s launch in April 2022. Grayson expresses how the company peaked their interest for a collaboration, “We were brainstorming and felt like whatever they were doing for pride, we wanted to be a part of.”
The cannabis company were happy to collaborate with the couple. They worked with Grayson and Grey to create a “gay goodies box” that contain their favorite P&B products. The products include watermelon and lychee flavored gummies, Releaf balm and body oil. The goody box also came with pride-themed stickers and a tote bag.
The company created the Officialy Very Gay tote bag that features a drawing made by Gray. The couple of course showed off their box on their TikTok page, celebrating their partnership with Papa & Barkley with their social media audience. The collaboration even put together a pride event that took place in Los Angeles where gay goodies were purchased and flowers were given.
“Give us flowers while we’re still here” – is a common phrase recognized in the LGBTQIA+ community, more specifically in the trans community. Grayson and Grey describe this phrase as a way of appreciating and showing love to queer people while they’re still alive, rather than appreciating their existence when they’ve passed away.
“…Giving people their kudos, love, admiration, support and care while they’re still alive and not when they’re dead [and being read about] in a history book,” Grey says, “Where everyone can [say], ‘I loved them,’ but were treated [poorly] when they were here.”
Grey relates the importance of appreciating queer people while they’re still here to the social evolution of cannabis. She touches on the subject of cannabis criminalization; Not too long ago, people were imprisoned for using cannabis and aren’t able to witness the new generation of de-stigmatized cannabis use. “It’s [about] recognizing all of those who came before us and all of those who are here now, who are opening the doors [to acceptance].”
The conversation with Grayson and Grey then shifted to discuss TikTok’s censorship and how it has always affected their account – even while promoting their partnership with Papa & Barkley – claiming the platform has taken down their content about P&B multiple times. Grayson talks about the challenge of keeping their cannabis-related content up without being taken for violating TikTok’s community guidelines. “We’ll figure out how to edit [TikTok’s] differently… And it’s already presenting challenges,” tells Grayson.
Grey adds that the “sweet spot” of the collaboration with P&B is their shared experiences dealing with online censorship. “We post things of just us kissing on the internet and it gets censored and you can post a CBD balm and be censored,” Grey continues, “If we’re going to be put in a corner, let’s f– – party.”
When posed with the question asking what this brand deal could mean for the LGBTQIA+ community, the couple responded with encouragement for other queer influencers, “The worst thing someone can tell you is no,” Grey begins, “We’ve gotten a lot of no’s because… We don’t fit the bill of the [easiest] to sell human beings in a mass marketplace.” Grey explains that other queer influencers could find special products that are used in their everyday life to seek authentic brand deals with, just as Grayson and Grey did with Papa & Barkley. Grayson continues off of Grey, “You don’t need to be an influencer to create an event around what you’re passionate about.”
Undoubtedly, Grayson and Grey are grateful to be given the chance to work with one of their favorite cannabis brands for pride month. The Officially Very Gay with Papa & Barkley collab is centered around supporting LGBTQIA+ communities by donating online sales to COLORS Youth and by featuring queer couple, Grayson + Grey. As a cannabis consumer, you can shop consciously and celebrate pride all year round by purchasing from Papa & Barkley.