The LGBTQ+ market is estimated to have $4 trillion in spending power globally this year and our eyes are on the ways in which this will affect the cannabis industry. While the industry has become more inclusive in recent years, there are many more strides to be made with regard to reported discrimination and prejudice. Cannabis has been labeled a ‘progressive industry’; therefore, the expectation to employ progressive practices is high. While the latest data shows that cannabis employs more self-identified women than tech or agriculture, men still retain most of the power positions at these businesses. And from a racial justice perspective, most locations where cannabis is legal in the US have been slow to implement equity measures, meaning straight rich white men continue to profit off of cannabis while communities of color are still grappling with the legal effects of cannabis prohibition.
In an effort to highlight the ways in which the cannabis industry represents marginalized groups, we spoke with influencer Jessica Golich about LGBTQ+ representation in cannabis.
Cannabis culture prides itself on LGBTQ+ activism but how effective do you think its messaging is it pertains to empowering and employing marginalized groups?
I believe that the Cannabis Industry as a whole has been very effective in regards to elevating LGBTQ+ culture, in particular given the censorship of the cannabis industry on social networks. Cannabis companies and brands are not only celebrating pride during the month of June, we are seeing year-round campaigns highlighting LGBTQ+ talent.
How do you feel the LGBTQ+ community can help to amplify each other’s voices within the cannabis space?
I recommend for Cannabis brands to continue to attract, hire and attain LGBTQ+ talent to utilize their platforms to market for their products and mission. If you work in talent acquisition, hire LGBTQ+, diverse and multicultural talent. The ultimate war from a digital consumption aspect is destigmatizing the public persona of the cannabis industry; doing so through LGBTQ+ talent helps.
Do you see potential for the cannabis industry to be a leader in progressive action and if so, what are some steps you feel they could take to forward their role in this space?
We already are a leader in progressive action. We now need to continue to advocate for and educate around the importance of legislative action by the Federal Government to evolve on cannabis reform.
As it pertains to your brand, how do you incorporate your identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community into your daily work if at all? And if/when you do, does it pose any obvious challenges?
I have been able to tie in my sexuality cohesively throughout brand deals and content as many brands are hiring LGBTQ+ talent for those purposes. Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community never personally posed a challenge for myself. If anything, it has elevated opportunities into more impassioned experiences to express and advocate for LGBTQ+ equality.
In what ways do you hope to see the cannabis industry progress within the next 5-10 years and how do you think federal legalization might play a role in their effort to adopt equal representation of marginalized communities?
The closer we get to federal legalization, the more economic development as more demand for retailers will aid in providing job opportunities to members of local communities.
Be sure to follow Jessica Golich on Instagram for updates!