Pride 2019: Representation Matters

By: Ben Mervis

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Since the clock struck June the commercial color of the season seems to be rainbow. So far the reviews have been mixed, and I get it. In the grand scheme of things, I’m proud of corporate America’s rush to embrace the LGBT audience, although I’m also skeptical.

The marketing world has placed a high value on “their” LGBT audiences. Most pride campaigns paint a picture of highly educated men and women on a socioeconomic level akin to our straight counterparts — and that’s great, aspirational, inspirational and something we can’t take for granted. When I was a kid, I would have felt so much relief by seeing today’s marketing campaigns.

That being said, commercial advertisers paint this picture because it’s their ideal customer – someone who can actually afford to go shopping and will participate in the free PR that comes along with our overly social, super-documented lives.

But when you’re addressing pride — which I’ll remind you, started as a riot — you can’t just stop at the parts of our population that are doing well.

  • The Williams Institute does some of the nation’s leading research on LGBT topics and estimates that 40% of homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT

  • According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) so far in 2019, seven transgender people have been violently killed: all black trans women. Additionally, trans women of color make up four out of five anti-trans homicides, the HRC has said.

  • The Transgender Military Ban is still an ongoing issue, which even if it has not removed people from their posts, has certainly caused stress for our armed forces, and could keep some of our nation’s brightest minds from joining their ranks.

It’s easy to understand why those at either end — from the most disenfranchised to the trailblazers — are quick to feel like rainbow logos and two boys holding hands isn’t quite enough to call your company supportive. It doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate it… it’s just hard to take it as seriously.

I was recently in a pride event-related meeting where one of the organizers had a hard time saying the acronym “LGBT,” and nobody was throwing them a bone. Not only could this person not get the letters right, but when one of their peers offered something almost right, they still resolved to a default “whatever” to end the sentence. I was honestly offended that this person had probably put more thought into their celebration outfit than the community they were celebrating, but I helped them find their words, and I always will in these types of situations.

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I’d like to think that when one group within our LGBTQ+ communities gains representation and more of a voice, we all win. I recognize that as a cisgender white gay male, I’m one of the “easier” concepts for the simple mind to grasp; I feel and act upon the weight of that responsibility. I certainly can’t speak for other gays, but with this voice of mine and the spotlight I’ve been given, I will use it to raise up my less represented peers no matter their gender, race or religion.

Among the variety of progress displayed by big brands this year – the ads, logos, icons, packaging, shelf designs – there’s a big difference between pandering and representation. Here are some organizations that did it RIGHT this year.

  • Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s pride gear incorporated black and brown into the rainbow, which is inclusive AF.

    • Bonus points for Pete(‘s social manager) adding his preferred pronouns to his Instagram bio

  • Calvin Kleina brand synonymous with bodies and sexuality — featured a variety of homosexual and gender non-conforming models in their pride campaign.

    • This is huge in a world where we’re beginning to learn more about the ethos behind a brand, and it’s not always in alignment with our own.

  • Kush Queen’s Pride 2019 Collection hit the trifecta.

    • Kush queen put actual history on the pride collection packaging, educating consumers of the intersections between cannabis and LGBT progress.

    • Donating 20% to the Trans Lifeline is a generous donation by most corporate standards. This is an organization that puts boots on the ground and helps people every day – they need cash!

    • Kush Queen’s Pride campaign is 100% queer-produced creative.

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I’ve been working with content producers/photographers/ directors/models for 6+ years, and the majority of that work focuses on our LGBT communities. I have two simple rules when it comes to this:

  • Only LGBT photographers should shoot LGBT storylines

  • Only LGBT talent should star in LGBT storylines

I’d like to take this moment to thank Courtney Charles for bringing queer creatives together to produce a beautiful, conceptual shoot for Kush Queen. I also want to thank our CEO Olivia Alexander for being one of the truest allies our communities could ask for.

It’s easy to be a hater, but easy isn’t the name of this game. I’m proud of everyone for speaking their feelings and not settling for what we’re given, but make sure you’re talking about the things that matter, not just shouting into the void.

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I’m also going to take this moment to remind everyone that Ignite is Kush Queen’s INCREDIBLE water-based CBD Lube, which is condom safe. Health is wealth! STD’s are everywhere, and not always treatable. You can take care of yourself and have a good time. So do that.

Happy Pride, everyone.


Don’t forget to follow and tag @kushqueenshop & @kushqueenco in your Instagram posts and stories!

Kush Queens Pride Collection is Limited Edition and going fast! Grab yours before their gone and we will donate 20% of your purchase to Trans Lifeline!

Shope Pride!

Introducing The 2019 Pride Collection

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Celebrating the shared history of cannabis progress, and the LGBTQ+communities, Kush Queen presents our limited edition 2019 Pride Collection. The Pride CBD bath bomb with 25mg CBD, Pride Ignite Water Based CBD Lubricant, and our 1000mg Bare CBD Tincture.

Our access to cannabis would not exist without the incredible men and women who fought for Proposition 215. Because of them, California would adopt its first medical cannabis legislation in 1996, opening the doors for AIDS patients and many others to gain access to plant medicine.

As a womxn-owned company, Kush Queen is dedicated to honoring the shared history of the LGBTQ+ communities and cannabis. We are committed to the pursuit of equality and fostering a more accepting world not just during pride season, but all year long.

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20% of all pride collection sales will directly benefit Trans Lifeline; a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to critical needs with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Their vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid.Celebrating the shared history of cannabis progress, and the LGBTQ+communities, Kush Queen presents our limited edition 2019 Pride Collection. Our access to cannabis would not exist without the incredible men and women who fought for Proposition 215. Because of them, California would adopt its first medical cannabis legislation in 1996, opening the doors for AIDS patients and many others to gain access to plant medicine.

Check back all summer long for amazing pride content!


Don’t forget to follow and tag @kushqueenshop & @kushqueenco in your Instagram posts and Stories!

Grab your Kush Queen Limited Edition Pride Collection below!

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Be The Change: How your Impact can Help Heal Earth

By: Angela Viesti

Each year In April we celebrate Earth Day: a holiday created in 1970 to raise awareness on the environmental impact humanity has on our planet. Almost 50 years later, the topics of global warming, sustainability, and climate change fill our newsfeeds and conversations, yet change seems so distant.

As individuals, the best thing we can do is lead by example and be the change we wish to see in the world. This is much simpler than you may think and only requires small, daily changes that will become a habit over time. Here are some ways to limit your environmental footprint and repay Mother Earth for nurturing Life.

Keep it in the Community

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One of the biggest sectors that negatively impact our world is the food and agriculture industry. Not surprisingly, given how connected we are to the Earth, it can also negatively impact our health. In addition to the use of pesticides in produce and antibiotics in animals, foods that travel long distances to their destinations generate more fuel emissions and often arrive after their peak of freshness, making them less nutritious. The pollution winds up in the atmosphere and in our bodies via our lungs and digestive system—yuck!

Here are some shifts you can make to lessen your dependency on industrial agriculture:

  • Shop at farmer’s markets: A quick Google search will turn up all kinds of farmer’s markets in your area, especially if you live near a major city. While you’re there, get to know the people behind the product and build relationships with them. You’ll find local, seasonal foods that you may have overlooked at the grocery store.

  • Find a local community garden: Urban farming is becoming far more common these days, and it’s truly a way to heal communities, families, and the Earth. For a minimal fee, you can use a small plot of land and tend to your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. You’ll save money and reap the rewards of gardening, which is known to reduce stress.

  • Buy locally sourced product: When shopping at the grocery store, select items labeled “Local” and choose smaller grocery chains or food co-ops, if available.

  • Grow your own: This applies to both food and weed. Aside from the benefits listed above, you reduce the amount of packaging and plastic exposure to your food and cannabis, making them less contaminated.  You can start small and have a small herb garden and experiment more as you gain confidence in your gardening abilities.

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A great way to make an impact on your community and the world is to pick up trash or debris anytime you see it out of place. We can be conditioned to think, “It’s not my mess, so I’m not cleaning it up!” but that’s the wrong attitude to have. Yes, trash should be discarded properly to begin with, but by walking past a mess and ignoring it, you do nothing to make it better. I see garbage all over the place while walking my dogs and I’m sure you’ll begin seeing it too if you pay attention. Make it a point to pick up one item that someone else discarded every day. Who knows, someone may see you and be inspired to join your efforts.

Energy In, Energy Out

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The culture in the Western world is largely one of excess and convenience. This contributes to a huge amount of wasted energy and natural resources, but it’s also very simple to remedy in our day-to-day lives.

I remember a few years ago when California was in a drought and we were all urged to save water at every opportunity. The urgency became even more apparent when I visited Catalina Island that year, where water was truly scarce: Bottled water was very expensive and our Air BnB host requested we take 5-minute showers.  It was a stark reminder that we take for granted having clean, running water in our homes under normal circumstances.

As we move closer towards the summer months, inevitably we’ll have warnings of blackouts if a heat wave strikes. This is caused primarily by increased air conditioning, but there are many ways we inefficiently use power when we could be conserving. The undue burden on the grid can be prevented by changing habits and paying attention to where we’re being wasteful.

Save energy and natural resources by:

  • Take shorter showers and turn off the water when not in use (like when you’re shampooing your hair, brushing your teeth or Waiting for your Kush Queen Soaked CBD Shower Gel to absorb.)

  • Run dishwasher and washing machine with full loads only

  • Use fans to help circulate air so you can use less A/C

  • Keep curtains drawn to keep sunlight out, close windows to keep cool air in

  • Use common sense—don’t run the A/C on full blast while you bundle up under a winter quilt!

Be the Change

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Not long ago, I was chatting with a friend while he washed his trash in the sink. Confused, I wondered WTF he was doing. I later learned that there’s a right way and a wrong way to recycle while listening to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, Getting Curious with JVN. One bit of wisdom that stood out was that residual foods and liquids can cause contamination, which can ruin other recyclable and can be easily avoided if you rinse your plastic items before recycling them—full circle moment!  By being the change I needed to see, my friend helped me to view recycling through a new lens.

Taking this a step further, think about ways you can reuse items, rather than simply recycling them. At Kush Queen, we’ve built this into our product line and use all recyclable materials and many materials that can be easily used again. Defynt, Bare, and Ignite all come in glass bottles that can be repurposed for your DIY skin care potions,  essential oil blends, and custom cannabinoid tinctures. Just make sure you thoroughly clean the container to avoid contamination!

Treat Every Day like Earth Day

Here in California, we’ve voted in favor of banning single-use plastic bags and now straws. You don’t have to wait for the laws to change or for the next earth day to adopt practices that keep our planet thriving. The Environmental Protection Agency has great resources to educate the public on making conservation, recycling, and greener living a lifestyle.


Tell us how you’re transmuting the Earth Day vibes into your life all year long by following and tagging @kushqueenshop and @kushqueenco in your Instagram posts and stories!

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