Taking A Stance Against Rainbow Washing: GS at Boston’s Pride Parade

At Gentlemen Smugglers, we are deeply committed to supporting and celebrating diversity within legal cannabis and beyond. As we enter Pride Month 2023, we want to take a moment to discuss the importance of genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community and address the issue of rainbow washing, a marketing tactic that can undermine the true meaning of Pride.


Cannabis & the LGBTQ+ Community

The connection between cannabis and the LGBTQ+ community has deep historical roots, with cannabis playing a significant role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. During the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 1990s, the LGBTQ+ community turned to cannabis as a means of alleviating the debilitating symptoms associated with the disease.

This led to a grassroots movement advocating for the legalization of medical cannabis, with many LGBTQ+ activists at the forefront of this campaign. The efforts of these trailblazers not only helped destigmatize cannabis use but also played a crucial role in the eventual legalization of medical cannabis in several states, starting with California in 1996.

Today, the cannabis industry continues to be a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community, supporting various initiatives and organizations that promote LGBTQ+ rights, equality, and inclusion. Many cannabis businesses actively strive to create inclusive and diverse workplaces that welcome and celebrate individuals from all walks of life, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.

By fostering such environments and advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, the cannabis industry has the potential to contribute to the ongoing fight for equality and acceptance, while also acknowledging and honoring the historical ties that bind these two communities together.


Our Stance Against Rainbow Washing

Rainbow washing is a marketing tactic where companies superficially show support for the LGBTQ+ community by adding rainbow colors or symbols to their branding during Pride Month, without taking any meaningful actions. This practice can dilute the significance of Pride and detract from the crucial issues facing LGBTQ+ individuals.

At Gentlemen Smugglers, we believe that supporting the LGBTQ+ community goes beyond adding a rainbow to our logo. Our dedication to diversity and inclusivity is woven into the fabric of our company culture and is evident in our actions throughout the year. We take a strong stance against rainbow washing.


Boston’s Pride Parade: Back in 2023

After a hiatus due to the pandemic, Boston’s Pride Parade is back for 2023! As one of the largest and most anticipated events in the city, the Pride Parade has long been a symbol of unity, acceptance, and love. Thousands of people gather each year to celebrate the progress made in LGBTQ+ rights, honor the history of the movement, and advocate for continued change and equality.

The parade, which winds through the streets of downtown Boston, features a diverse array of participants, including local LGBTQ+ organizations, community groups, businesses, and allies. Colorful floats, vibrant costumes, and live performances create an atmosphere of joy and celebration, as people from all walks of life come together to support the LGBTQ+ community.

In addition to the parade, Boston Pride Week offers a variety of events and activities that cater to the diverse interests of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. From educational panels and workshops to art exhibits, cultural events, and parties, there’s something for everyone to enjoy and participate in.


Join Barry “Flash” Foy & the GS team at Boston’s Pride Parade on Saturday, June 10th!

As we mentioned above, GS is committed to taking a firm stance against rainbow washing. As a company, we view this year and the years to come as an opportunity to deepen our understanding not only within the LGBTQ+ community but also within the broader cannabis industry.

We have made the conscious decision to participate in this year’s march, allowing our team to be actively involved and immersed in the experience. By doing so, we aim to foster genuine connections and demonstrate our unwavering support.


Moving Forward: A Call to Action

As we celebrate Pride Month this June, we encourage our fellow cannabis brands and businesses to join us in taking a stand against rainbow washing and commit to genuine support for the LGBTQ+ community. By doing so, we can collectively strive towards creating a more accepting society.

At Gentlemen Smugglers, we will continue to uplift the LGBTQ+ community through our actions and partnerships, both during Pride Month and beyond. We invite you to join us in celebrating the incredible diversity within our community, as we work together to create a brighter, more inclusive future for everyone.

Happy Pride Month 2023!

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Peter Cardoz

As a passionate cannabis advocate, lifetime food enthusiast and veteran scientist, Peter brings his wealth of knowledge and love for cannabis to the Gentlemen Smugglers team. He started his research career from an early age, eventually conducting research at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, where he become published in Nature Communications.

In 2021, Peter started his own consulting company, Cardoz Blended Gourmet, and a launched a line of gourmet, live resin infused CBD culinary oils.

Cathy O'Hara

Meet Cathy, head of People Operations at Gentlemen Smugglers. Cathy is a former journalist turned Tech Pioneer. As the 35th employee at AirBNB, Cathy helped scale the home-sharing startup into the mega star it is today.

Cathy joins GS with a proven knowledge of recruiting, people leadership, community relationship building, customer service operations, workflow planning and project management. Plus she’s just a cool world traveler.