Robin Abledaughter and Chaos Gibbons | Co-Founders | The Farmaceuticals Company | San Rafael, California
What challenges are facing the Cannabis community with regards to equality/equity?
As a queer women-owned company, we have certainly experienced our share of inequality in this industry. The California Cannabis industry shifted a lot after legalization – it became corporate, and for lack of a better word, more “bro-y.” Since then, we’ve struggled with tamping down our queerness and trying to hide it. Would people buy our products if they knew we are queer-owned? Would we survive as a company? In the end, we just had to be unapologetically who we are. There’s nothing else to be.
Part of the reason we’re able to do that is because, like all identity politics, it’s about intersection. Although we are queer, we are two white women and so we have white privilege. We know that while large Cannabis corporations (run predominantly by cis white men) are getting investments and bringing in huge profits, there are still thousands of people of color incarcerated for Cannabis-related offenses. Black people, in particular, are disproportionately targeted and jailed for Cannabis-only offenses at an astounding rate.
What does equality in the Cannabis industry mean to you?
To us, equality and equity would look like white-owned Cannabis companies giving back to communities of color. We’d like everyone in the Cannabis industry with white privilege to join us in asking: How can we use our privilege to help lift up others? … We have a chance here to make things better, to create a more equitable industry and a more equitable world. And we believe firmly that by joining together, we can really make an impact.