With the June 24th parade being the first since Canada’s Senate voted 52-29 to federally legalize recreational marijuana, it only made sense that in addition to the spirit of equality and love, it would also become a space in which to celebrate the new legislative milestone. One of Canada’s biggest cannabis brands, Tweed, showed their commitment to progress and change, and in addition to actively supporting Toronto Pride (and Hamilton, Niagara, and Winnipeg Pride initiatives), they showcased a float and several other activations to help spread the word about the acceptance that goes hand-in-hand with cannabis culture.
Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton, who recently pledged to invest $20 million over the next four years in socially responsible initiatives through the creation of the Tweed Collective, and who personally participated in the march with his son, said, “We’re proud to march alongside Pride to celebrate the progress we’ve made on issues of social justice, inclusion, and diversity while also smashing outdated perceptions about cannabis along the way. Pride events across Canada and the world are fundamental to acknowledging the sacrifice of activists and pioneers while also reminding us that better is always possible.”
When cannabis legalization goes into effect on October 17, Canada will join Uruguayas only the second country to legalize recreational cannabis. In the United States, LGBTQ activists are to thank for some of the first successful progressive cannabis movements. This first took the form of the passage of San Francisco's Proposition P in 1991, with gay activist Dennis Peron leading the charge to secure legal access for patients suffering from wasting syndrome caused by the AIDS epidemic. Proposition P paved the way for 1996’s Compassionate Care Use Act, (which was authored by Peron) and the creation of the U.S.’s first statewide medical marijuana program.
Pride is a jubilant expression of the LGBTQ movement’s victories, and it is also a time for more solemn reflection. The last part of the Pride Toronto march, dubbed “Until We’re Safe,” featured marchers dressed in black to remember victims of LGBTQ-targeted violence. It is a stark reminder that while progress has been made, the road ahead is still a long one. The same thing could be said in regards to cannabis, as countless lives have been ruined by incarceration stemming from the illicitness of the plant.
However, one thing is certain, both the LGBTQ community and cannabis advocates/users are scoring serious wins of late. One might even say it’s a double rainbow.