How a Purpose-Driven Brand Does Pride

I wrote this article in June 2019 for the blog of The Hybrid Creative – read the original here. I learned a lot while writing this article and it’s worth sharing and preserving this work...

June brings summertime sunshine (or if you’re near the Bay Area, it can be more like June gloom), BBQs, and trips to the beach. And it also heralds the arrival of Pride parades, celebrations of diversity, and lots of rainbows adorning storefronts and social media accounts.

Cannabis and Pride actually share a common thread in the history of their movements. Gay rights activists were among the first to champion cannabis legalization when they discovered that it helped to alleviate complications caused by AIDS. In 1996, gay activist Dennis Peron co-authored a California law that dubbed him the “father of medical marijuana.” So it’s no surprise that cannabis brands are jumping on board to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community and add a splash of rainbow to their summer marketing campaigns.

But before painting your brand with the popular rainbow brush, dive deeper into your intentions, make sure your company’s actions align with the cause, educate yourself on the history and people of Pride, and invite your LGBTQIA+ team members to lead the planning process to ensure you’re truly aligning your actions with your words.

As our Brand Strategy clients know, it starts with WHYBeing mindful to “do what you say” and, above all, making sure your campaign is inclusive and sensitive to the history of struggle behind Pride, will help you create a win-win for all with your marketing efforts this month and beyond.

It’s been truly inspiring to see the creative ways cannabis brands have partnered with organizations supporting the queer community for Pride, even more exciting witnessing the long-term commitments to social justice and equality initiatives. From brands offering a percentage of proceeds to LGBTQIA+ causes like Dosist and Lowell Herb Co, to Jetty’s efforts to save cannabis compassion programs, Cannabis for Good, Vangst’s Social Equity initiative focusing on equity in hiring, and finally, to  the PAX ‘Be a Force for Good’ campaign—creative companies are using their platforms for a good cause, connecting with their communities, and creating a buzz around their brand at the same time. Talk about a WIN-WIN!


In the spirit of Pride, below are a few ideas to help your cannabis business support social justice issues like Pride. These lists are a start, but you’ll want to seek out local organizations as well that align well with your brand values and mission.

Let us know what you’re doing to support Pride! What other organizations or community efforts are you spearheading? Please share in the comments!

LGBTQIA+ Organizations to Support

Pride month is almost over, but it’s never too late to partner with and donate to organizations doing great work in support of the queer community. Here’s just a sampling of our favorites, many in our own backyard.

Equality as a Business Culture

Your Pride marketing efforts should be genuine. Your audience can tell if you’re inauthentic, so be sure those stunning images and cleverly crafted words are backed by a solid action plan to promote diversity and equity within the walls of your organization.

Here are some preliminary steps you can take:

  • Hire for diversity and hire those who have been impacted by the war on drugs.
  • Build acceptance of all people into your company culture, and have a ‘zero tolerance for intolerance’ policy in place.
  • Real representation matters: mix up your marketing with images showing the diversity of real people from all walks of life. When people can see themselves represented in your marketing, they feel heard and safe.
  • Collaborate with, purchase from, and be a true ally to LGBTQIA+ owned and focused organizations in your community.
  • Participate in and sponsor Pride Events – here’s a Pride Calendar by City.
  • Carefully moderate your Pride campaigns on social media to make sure any discussion in the comments is supportive and not bigoted or hateful..
  • Think of Pride as an opportunity to educate, engage with, and listen to your audience rather than to toot your own horn.

When planning Pride marketing campaigns, be mindful, let your LGBTQIA+ teammates lead the process, and check out these guides from Later and AdWeek for more excellent tips. Happy Pride!

In Pursuit of Lucid Enchantment…

It’s that time of year again… I have 20+ tabs open, on my browser and my brain. Upgrading my failing hard drive on my five year old laptop felt like breaking through to a new level of existence and a simultaneous brain upgrade and cash hemorrhage. The hustle is ON.

Full steam ahead, two festivals in production, conference calls and projects crammed into every bit of possible off time, plus a part time web design gig and once in a while I even make it to yoga class or take care of the chickens and goats! Yes, busy to the point of slight overwhelm, but what else is new? I thrive on this shit. And there’s not much else to distract me from it.

In November I started my third marketing cycle with Lucidity Festival near Santa Barbara.  Taking place in early April, this unique open-source festival is always a fun chance to see old friends, soak up a little SoCal sunshine, and enjoy beautifully curated music, performances, workshops, and more. Looking forward to the always awesome music lineup, and maybe I’ll actually get my ass in gear and take some workshops this year! Tickets are going quick now that our lineup is out, so hit me up for my discount code & join me in exploring Eudaimonia…

Late last summer & fall I was working on a crowdfunding campaign for their Lucid University project, which is also pretty exciting. Lucid University began as the central workshop / learning space at Lucidity festivals, and last year expanded to offer five immersive 3-day courses that took place the week before the festival, Courseweek. Last year, LU partnered up with a few other aligned folks to collectively purchase a property called Trillium, which had been a retreat & education center, in Southern Oregon. They just recently closed on the land, and a few of my Lucidity co-workers have been spending the winter in cabins up there, learning from the previous stewards and planting the seeds for the new home of a Lucid University education and retreat center and sustainable co-living / co-working community space. The festival, and Courseweek, is still in Santa Barbara, but this opens a whole new chapter of possibilities for this team so that’s really exciting to be a part of! I’ll be checking out the land at the Land-Warming party in May at Trillium.

But first, south to Lucidity in just a little over a month. I am excited to see my friends Pal & Ottie who live in the area and all my Lucidity co-workers and Animal Kingdom campmates! It’s been a long, cold, wet, and stormy winter, and I’m ready for festival season. And some time with old friends. Gonna try to figure out a visit to Idaho somewhere in the madness too…

Once festival season begins, there’s no slowing it down. I am now working year-round for Enchanted Forest Gathering, and we recently announced new dates for 2017 in June. I’m knee-deep in putting content together for the revamped website, and I’m working with an almost entirely new Marketing team this year, which has been really awesome and helped me learn a lot already. Moving to June means even little more overlap between EFG and Lucidity though. The last month or so I have really started to feel the overwhelm, and have gone back into hermit workaholic mode. But with both teams moving along like well-oiled machines and a couple hectic production seasons under my belt now, I feel like I’m finally getting a better handle on this work-life balance thing. Kinda.

The Enchanted lineup is shaping up to be the stuff of legends, and Camp Higher Porpoise is making plans for an even more amazing collaborative Mendoland environment. I am super excited to announce our music lineup this year. OMG. It is SO HARD to keep this one in… but we gotta have a freakin’ website first so let’s just say it will be well worth the wait, and you should definitely BE THERE. Get those tickets meow, and be sure to hit me up for my discount code. You will regret it if you don’t Get Enchanted with us this year.

I am not too sure how many flow arts events I will be able to make it to this year… now that FireDrums is the weekend before Enchanted, it may be a bit hard to go. But I am going to a new event that I’ve been meaning to check out forever, Symbiosis, which will be in Oregon this August on the weekend of a solar eclipse. Badass. A bunch of my festie friends will be there, and it will be nice not to be working at a festival for once, but we’ll see, I may just find a way to work at it yet…

All this work and festivals has been a lovely distraction from the absolute shitshow that is American politics lately, as well as my rather neglected personal life, so I’m just gonna keep my focus there. I have been to some awesome shows the past few months in the Bay, had some yard sales with friends and started cleaning out my storage unit, foraged for edible mushrooms in between rainstorms, got involved in a local activism group called Mobilize Mendo, and marched in the Womens’ March in Fort Bragg, which was super inspiring and uplifting after such a horribly fucked election, and really well attended. I have NEVER seen so many people in one place on the Mendocino coast. And the protest signs—SO CLEVER! Also loved seeing the various National Parks and science / environmental agencies that Twitler has tried to silence and censor rise up on social media with alternate accounts, climate change truth bombs and clever resistance. We need these silver linings in this stormy weather.

My political activism is re-awakening, after getting a bit complacent and wrapped up in my own stuff for quite a while, it’s time to wake up & rage against the machine again. Reminds me of my college days of turning every art class project into a political statement. I never thought I would actually miss George Dubya & his cronies, but I admit it, I do. There is no reasoning with the current batch of fearmongers and I am legitimately terrified for my country. But mostly for anyone who is not a rich white male, and for the planet, for immigrants and our oppressed populations whose already inadequate protections now don’t stand a chance. I can’t even pay attention to the news lately, it’s too much. The rise of fascism is too real and too fast. But I’m bracing for a fight. And I’m focusing on building and supporting the communities who are our only hope. It’s about time to start planting more seeds and growing more food, too…

There is good happening. I am surrounded by amazing and inspiring people, but I can see through the safe walls of my bubble. I know it’s dark out there, and there’s much work to be done. But I won’t let that shit dull my shine, and I sure as hell won’t let it keep me from building the better future I know is possible, because I glimpse it every time I arrive at a festival and see people working together, building community, creating amazing art and celebrating the good we still have.

So I’ll just be here, working, dreaming, dancing, and resisting until the clouds part and the sun returns… Spring is coming. So I gather my strength and look forward.