I first met Buck Angel last summer as he was selected to be a panelists on our MARY Talks: Sex and Cannabis discussion in Los Angeles. In all our communication leading up to the event, I only new that he started his career in the adult entertainment industry but had no clue about his past and transformation into a man and was impressed with his story and his journey. The more he shared about his life and the important role that the LGBT community played in helping legalize cannabis in California in the 90’s, I knew his advocacy was one that many could relate to and support. Thanks to the monumental activism efforts from California’s LGBTQ communities, Proposition 215 passed in 1996, making it the first state to legalize medical marijuana in the U.S.
I spoke with Buck and co-founder Leon Mostovoy about why they started Pride Wellness, their new partnership with Greenstone Co., what they want the masses to know about cannabis culture and the LGBT community and more.
What brought abut the need to launch Pride Wellness?
LM:Pride Wellness was founded by two transmen, Buck Angel and Leon Mostovoy. The company was created to promote natural alternatives to prescribed narcotics, as well as supporting general community health and well-being. With these issues in mind, we have developed a line of products to share with our community. Pride Wellness products are designed to help people struggling with mood, anxiety, and sleep difficulties, addiction, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic illnesses and pain conditions, as well as those who just want to kick back, relax and enjoy!
BA: Leon and I saw the cannabis industry taking off about four years ago. What we saw was our community not being represented and we understood how if we do not get in the game then we would never be and our LGBTQ community would be left behind. Many people do not understand that our community legalized cannabis many years ago with a pharma drug called Marinol. It was because of AIDS. Many of our community worked hard, died and suffered to get cannabis legal. So it only makes sense for our community to be represented.
What’s your currently relationship with cannabis and how has it benefited you in the past?
BA: I am sober from drugs and alcohol for many many years. I now use cannabis as my medication. As a sober person, it was difficult for me to get around what I had been told which is that cannabis is a drug. But I disagree as I use it for medical purposes such as my insomnia and anxiety. It’s funny how people seem not to think that pharma prescriptions are not a drug. I was addicted to sleeping pills and have now been free of those and so much more alert and feeling clear.
You’re one of the first brands to address erectile dysfunction within the cannabis market, what are helpful tips men should know about CBD and your product, The Buckshot?
BA: Thank you! Yes we are so excited about this product. It is doing amazing! As you might know, my career started in the sex business and so naturally I think sex is an important part of life. So what better than a product like BuckShot. Adding CBD enhanced this product and allowed us to be one of the first to do this. Cannabis and sex is a winner.
LM: Most important, it’s made from all-natural ingredients that will not have any bad side effects like headaches, often found with taking other sexual enhancement drinks. The CBD aspect contributes with a very light general sensation of relaxing your nervous system. Often ED is caused by performance anxiety. CBD is perfect for keeping the edge off while keeping the blade hard.
You recently announced a partnership with Greenstone Companies, what’s on the horizon for the Pride Wellness?
BA: Yes! We are so happy and proud to be with Greenstone. They have really put 100 percent into helping us get out and understand the message attached to us is so important. We could never do this without them. We are working towards being a powerhouse in 2020. As more and more dispensaries start to carry our brand we can spread the message of the importance of our community having visibility in the cannabis world.
LM: Pride Wellness searched for a few years to find the right partnership and Greenstone Co. comes through on every level. With Greenstone, we have launched a full line of flowers and prerolls, created with High Times #1 winner Honeydew Farms sungrown and indoors flowers. We are presently in seven dispensaries and continuing our California in-store tour. Next, we head to The Leaf in Palm Desert in September followed by a big Palm Springs Pride Wellness party. We started our flower line 6 weeks ago with great success ask a dispensary near you for Pride Wellness prerolls and 1/8 jars Indulge-Indica, Inspire-Hybrid, Ignite-Sativa.
What do you want the masses to know or understand about cannabis culture and the LGBT community?
BA: We want them to know that our community worked tirelessly to help legalize on the back of many gay men who contracted AIDS. Back in the day cannabis helped us to eat, sleep and not be in pain, yet it was not legal. Today, so many companies are benefiting financially because of this yet have no idea that our LGBT community was a leader in the legalization. This is very important, not only to us, but that our community knows this as well. This is information that has been swept under the rug.
LM: That medical marijuana started with our community. Prop 215 is the compassionate act law designed to help victims of HIV/AIDS. We showed up first to help our sick and dying community with cannabis and it helped! The LGBTQ cannabis culture isn’t different from other cannabis users, some are medical and some are recreational, some both. We aren’t physically different from CIS or straight or CIS straight people but our community does suffer more from health and mental issues, PTSD, bigotry, social isolation, etc. Therefore we propose the community use cannabis to start to heal.
In what ways does Pride Wellness give back and connect to the LGBT community?
LM: Pride Wellness has a giveback program LGBTQ seniors. From the onset Pride Wellness has been donating to the LA LGBT Center, Senior Services Department, specifically to the new low income and homeless housing facility in its final stages of construction. For every product, sold we give one dollar back to the LA LGBT Center, Senior Services Department. We like to say if you’re going to medicate you might as well help a senior well helping yourself.
BA: We are vetted by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and we give back every year to specifically the senior services center. Again, an important thing for us to do. We were the first to do this and continue to make sure we hold all companies accountable who latch on ONLY during pride. This has been a big problem in the last years not only with cannabis but Pride events. Companies using us for the ” good” at Pride but forgetting us for the rest of the year.
What can consumers expect or find with your products?
BA: Greenstone has made sure our pre-rolls and 1/8 jars are nothing but amazing. We have had such great feedback because we use only the best! So not only are you getting quality cannabis but you will help to support our community. I think that is powerful! We appreciate you and everyone who believes in us and our message. We cannot do this without you. We are a little fish right now but as we grow, and we will, watch how you will grow with us!
LM: The best quality on the market, a social conscience, and a feeling of well being. Truly, the best quality! I own a BCC licensed cannabis delivery service, work with a multitude of vendors and carry over 200 products. I can say with confidence Pride Wellness has the best products on the menu.