Cannabis' Debt to the LGBTQ+ Community
Last week, we went silent. Today, we raise our voices again in honor of Pride month. We are reminded that the first Pride parade was a protest, so to honor the LGBTQ+ community’s legacy of celebration is also to honor its legacy of activism. It is with immense respect that we credit this community for its instrumental work in helping legalize cannabis.
In the early '90s, the AIDS epidemic was devastating the country, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the LGBTQ+ community and communities of color in San Francisco. The epidemic had already claimed the lives of thousands across the country, and many of those still fighting the disease were consuming cannabis to help them manage their nausea, pain, insomnia, and other symptoms. In 1990, the police raided one patient's home and it would change the course of history forever. The home belonged to Vietnam War veteran Dennis Peron, who was taking care of a former lover who was dying of AIDS. Peron was charged with possession and intent to sell cannabis, kickstarting his inspiring legacy of activism.
Peron was the originator and organizer behind Prop. P, which legalized medical cannabis in San Francisco. Prop P was the first time since the beginning of cannabis prohibition in 1937, that a law was passed that directly challenged federal and state prohibition laws. It also marked the first time that cannabis became legally available again in our country, which is why Dennis is now known as "the father of medical marijuana."
In Dennis’ own words, “Part of me wanted to expose this War on Drugs for what it really is - which is a war on patients, war on people, war on the most wonderful people of America – the most thinking and loving people of America – the people who smoke marijuana.”
Kiva, along with the rest of the cannabis industry, owe a great deal of debt to Dennis and scores of other community activists alongside him who worked tirelessly to open doors for Prop 215 and eventually Prop 64 to legalize cannabis. With respect to their profound legacy, Kiva is proud to be donating to the impactful organization GLAAD, who has committed to combat racism and racial violence amidst this unprecedented time in our nation's history, in addition to their mission of accelerating acceptance for their diverse community.
As Kiva shared last week, we have donated to The Last Prisoner Project and NAACP Legal Defense Fund. We are proud to announce this week that Kiva's employees have together raised an additional $10,355, which Kiva is matching dollar for dollar. These additional funds will be going to the following organizations, in amounts selected by the employees contributing: Color of Change, Black Lives Matter, Equal Justice Initiative, Campaign Zero, The Bail Project, and the ACLU, as well as the Last Prisoner Project and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
In 2019, Kiva launched Tropical Punch Camino. Our lead product developer spearheaded this edible homage to her LGBTQ+ family as a proud labor of love. To honor this year’s Pride, we’ve brought Tropical Punch back and re-designed it taking inspiration from the LGBTQ+ community's legacy of marches, parades and protests. Without their courage and commitment to justice and compassion, Kiva would not exist today.