xulita journal

Want to join the club?

The Intersection of Queer Activism and Cannabis Legalization:  Honoring Queer Activists of the 80s

The Intersection of Queer Activism and Cannabis Legalization: Honoring Queer Activists of the 80s

The AIDS crisis of the 1980s brought the LGBTQ+ community to the forefront of the fight for medical cannabis. 

As the epidemic ravaged communities, activists sought alternative treatments to alleviate the suffering of those afflicted. Known for its ability to mitigate pain and stimulate appetite in patients facing wasting syndrome, cannabis emerged as a crucial option. However, its illegal status posed a significant barrier.

Queer activists, already engaged in a battle for their rights and lives, found a natural alignment with the cannabis legalization movement. They advocated for compassionate use policies and the decriminalization of marijuana, emphasizing the urgent need for access to this potentially life-saving aid.

Profiles of Pioneering Queer Activists 

1. Dennis Peron

Dennis Peron, often referred to as the "father of medical marijuana," was a prominent figure in both the gay rights and cannabis legalization movements. A Vietnam War veteran, Peron moved to San Francisco, where he became deeply involved in the gay liberation movement. The AIDS crisis hit close to home for Peron, who lost his partner Jonathan West to the disease. Witnessing the palliative benefits of cannabis firsthand, Peron co-authored Proposition P, which called for the legalization of medical marijuana in San Francisco. His relentless advocacy culminated in the passage of Proposition 215 in 1996, making California the first state to legalize medical cannabis.

2. Mary Jane Rathbun (Brownie Mary)

Mary Jane Rathbun, affectionately known as "Brownie Mary," was a tireless advocate for both LGBTQ+ rights and cannabis legalization. Rathbun became famous for baking and distributing cannabis-infused brownies to AIDS patients in San Francisco during the 1980s. Her compassionate activism and numerous arrests drew public attention to the plight of those suffering from AIDS and the need for medical marijuana. Rathbun's efforts were instrumental in garnering support for Proposition 215, alongside Dennis Peron .

3. Harvey Milk

Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California, was a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ rights and a vocal supporter of medical cannabis. Although he was assassinated in 1978, his legacy continued to inspire activists in the 1980s. Milk recognized the potential benefits of cannabis for AIDS patients and advocated for its legalization as part of a broader fight for social justice and public health.

4. Cleve Jones

Cleve Jones, a protégé of Harvey Milk and a prominent gay rights activist, also played a significant role in the cannabis legalization movement. Best known for creating the AIDS Memorial Quilt, Jones was deeply embedded in the fight against AIDS. He supported the use of medical cannabis as a means to provide relief to those suffering from the disease. Jones' activism highlighted the interconnectedness of health, dignity, and the right to access necessary medical treatments.

5. Tom Ammiano

A teacher, stand-up comedian, and politician, has been a significant figure in San Francisco politics and a staunch advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and cannabis legalization. As a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Ammiano championed numerous progressive causes, including the push for medical cannabis. His efforts helped to create a more compassionate and inclusive approach to healthcare and drug policy.

The Legacy of Queer Activists in Cannabis Legalization

The efforts of these queer activists in the 1980s laid the groundwork for the broader cannabis legalization movement we see today. Their advocacy not only helped to change laws but also shifted public perception, paving the way for the acceptance of cannabis as part of a legitimate medical treatment. The intersectionality of their activism serves as a powerful reminder that the fight for equality encompasses all aspects of life, including health and well-being.

Xula Herbs: Continuing the Legacy

At Xula Herbs, we draw inspiration from these pioneering activists as we continue to advocate for holistic health solutions. As a Latina-owned company dedicated to women's health, we understand the importance of accessible, natural remedies. Our new line of adaptogens for cognitive enhancement and burnout tranquility is designed with the same spirit of compassion and innovation that drove the queer activists of the 1980s. We honor their legacy by promoting wellness and empowerment for all, recognizing that true health encompasses both body and mind.

By celebrating the history of queer activists and their fight for cannabis legalization, we reaffirm our commitment to advocacy, inclusion, and the pursuit of holistic health solutions. Together, we can continue to build on their legacy and strive for a future where everyone has access to the care and treatments they need.

let's connect!

Join the xulita club!

sign up for exclusive sales, cute pop-up events, and for 15% off of your first order—we promise not to spam you!