Skip to main content

Pride + Cannabis

Amanda Ferron

Happy Pride month everyone!

I love being an ally, and showing my LGBTQ+ friends how much they mean to me all year round. But during this time of the year, I think it’s especially important to highlight how important a role the LGBTQ+ community played in Cannabis Legalization.

When people who don’t consume Cannabis daily think of legalized or medicinal Cannabis, they usually think of people using it while they fight cancer. But in reality, the disease that had more to do with legalization, was AIDS.

In the 70’s/80’s, the AIDS epidemic was raging, hitting San Francisco‘s LGBTQ+ community particularly hard. Around this time, people like Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary started stepping up, and using Cannabis to help AIDS patients in the city. (See the blog I wrote on Historical Women in Cannabis for a deeper dive into Brownie Mary. She was a legend!)

There was another amazing individual about to start making his mark on the Cannabis community as well… His name is Terrance Alan.


Terrance Alan was living in the city with his husband, Randal, who was sick at the time. He grew a small amount of Cannabis in his apartment, which was used to help ease his husbands pain. One day, SFPD came knocking, and arrested Terrance for his tiny homegrow. He would end up meeting and becoming friends with the legendary Dennis Peron AFTER he was arrested and accused of already being a part of Peron’s “Gay Pot Mafia”.

(P.S. I want a “Gay Pot Mafia” T-Shirt… Terrance, new merch idea??)

“The friendship between Dennis and I started when I was arrested in South of the Market for growing just months before Randal, my husband, died.” Explains Terrance. “Dennis arrived at my place the day after (I was arrested) and said, ‘This was wrong, come to City Hall with me and tell your story.’ He made me into an activist. Feinstein was the Mayor, and she gave me her home number, no cell phone yet.”

That arrest and the resulting friendship would end up having a lasting impact on Cannabis legalization itself. As Terrance stated in his quote, it led him to becoming a Cannabis rights activist. He remained good friends with Dennis, and has had a helping hand in almost every step of Cannabis legalization here in California since then.


Terrance has been an integral part of Cannabis legalization, and the Cannabis community as a whole. After Prop 215 passed in 1996, he helped found the nation’s first non-profit Cannabis dispensary, CHAMPS (Californians Helping to Alleviate Medical Problems). He co-founded the political action committee California Cannabis Voice, helped win the court case making Medical Cannabis exempt from CA sales tax, and also served as Chair of the SF State Cannabis Legalization Task Force.

On top of all of that, he is the proud Co-Founder of the Flore Dispensary, located in the famous Castro district in San Francisco.

This hard work and dedication led to Terrance receiving the 2022 Emerald Cup Legacy Award. We have people like Terrance to thank everytime we legally spark up some of our favorite Cannabis. Without them, most people would still be smoking in the shadows… Closeted in their Cannabis consumption.


I spoke with my friend Elise McRoberts, a.k.a The Hashinista, about Terrance and the LGBTQ+ communities impact on Cannabis legalization in general. Elise is a true Cannabis advocate and connoisseur. A talented hula-hoop fire Queen, who also serves as an Emerald Cup Judge, and is just an all around amazing individual. She is lucky enough to know Terrance Alan personally.

“It’s always been my mission to champion the original pioneers of the medical cannabis movement and Prop 215 era. For without that work, I don’t believe we would have the legal cannabis industry. It’s important to know and never forget that it was the queer community who fought for access to medical cannabis. And that ultimately led to millions more being able to find healing from the plant.

There’s a saying about ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.’ When I was new and soaking up all the knowledge and history of the San Francisco cannabis scene, I learned those giants included names like Dennis Peron and Terrance Alan. I consider it a huge blessing and honor to be able to know them, and support someone like Terrance, his business, and the Flore store.”


The Flore Dispensary, located at 258 Noe Street in San Francisco, is definitely a new personal favorite of mine. I don’t go into the City too often nowadays, but Flore will be a regular stop of mine when I do. Terrance and his Humboldt grower partner, Nate Whittington, clearly take a lot of pride in the feel of this space, and the quality of the Cannabis products they sell.

Flore has incredible energy, with a unique, warm, and inviting atmosphere. When you walk in, you’re immediately greeted by smiling faces, and a real giant redwood tree with a “Hug Me” sign on it. The floors are made from organic Kentucky grown Hemp materials, and the cabinets are made by an Oakland based LGBTQ+ designer. You can tell Terrance and Nate took care making sure this dispensary feels like a little slice of Humboldt in the Castro.


My eyes were immediately drawn to the front corner of the store, where a “Buy Queer Weed” sign is proudly displayed over-top of a table filled with LGBTQ+ owned products. This carefully curated space highlights Cannabis flowers, gummies, topicals, etc… all made by or in favor of the LGTBQ+ community. These products include Cann beverages, PRIDE edition Camino Gummies, and Flores product line!

That’s right, Flore is not only an awesome Dispensary, they also have their own line of Cannabis flowers and pre-rolls. Each lovingly chosen by hand to ensure top-quality. I picked up a pack of their premium pre-rolls.

Every joint in the pack was a different strain, with different colored crutches (in Rainbow order from red to purple) at the end joint to specify which is which. They even had a color-coded strain description on the lid of the pack, to guide the consumer on the effect each strain would have. Every little detail, designed with intention, and love.


Sharing these stories, and highlighting the LGBTQ+ communities’ role in Cannabis legalization, is an honor. I am incredibly proud to be able to do what I do; Writing about Cannabis, openly consuming, spreading knowledge about the plant… I get PAID to do this. And that is, in large part, because of our LGBTQ+ friends.

They are a community that leads with love.

Love for each other, love for yourself, and love for the Cannabis plant. I am beyond grateful that the Cannabis community has had such a truly inspiring group of people to help guide us to and through legalization.