I first heard of self-described “LGBTQA2+ cannabis couple” Sarah and Kate a few months back, when my colleague Vee shared their Instagram feed, @ourhighlife_. I was immediately struck by their endearing affection, as well as the important role cannabis plays in their relationship.
Many aren’t aware that there’s a budding LGBTQA2+ cannabis community. In speaking with thought-leaders, friends and fellow entrepreneurs, I’ve recognized a common thread: openly embracing cannabis is just another “closet” LGBTQA2+ consumers have to emerge from. Imagine that, cis/heterosexual readers: stigma atop stigma. Though what’s most inspiring is that this community is about to flourish and become a significant part of the national dialogue, what with the emergence of influencers and the first “queer cannabis quarterly”, Bowl & Plant.
On a larger scale, we’re seeing a major movement re-shaping cannabis culture; marginalized groups and allies have been mobilizing to end stigma, hatred and discrimination. People like Sarah and Kate are doing their part by showing there isn’t one type of toker. Every one of us has an identity and deserves to enjoy the plant freely and peacefully.
In spirit of Pride Month, I sat down with the couple to learn more about their love story, inclusivity and of how cannabis has strengthened their bond.
How did you two meet?
Sarah: We met in Charlottetown last summer! Kate was living and working there while I was in my final year of veterinary school, but our paths didn’t cross until a pride party at the end of the summer. We were actually both casually dating the same girl, and she invited us to a party thinking we would get along. When I saw Kate my first thought was, Oh my god I can’t talk to this girl, she’s way too beautiful. I was so intimidated that I smoked two bowls before going up to meet her.
Kate: I like to push myself out of my comfort zone, but sometimes, that’s really difficult. Last summer, I decided I wanted to get to know the East Coast of Canada, so I decided to move there and find a job until school started up again in the fall. It wasn’t a fun time; I stuck through it for a while, but ultimately decided to come home early. I’d booked my ticket and was counting down the days when I found my way to a pride party and met Sarah. All the darkness ended at that moment. It was inevitable; from then onward, we were together. There was nothing anybody could do about it.
Our High Life showcases your deep bond with one another, as well as cannabis. How has the plant impacted your relationship?
S: It’s so nice being with someone who consumes, understands, and loves cannabis. We had an incredible connection from the very beginning, and I think that’s partly due to our mutual love for the plant. Our first days together were spent sharing joints and having deep conversations. It was magical. As a medical cannabis patient, I also need a partner who understands and supports my cannabis use. Kate makes me feel so comfortable, that I’m never worried about my illness or need to medicate around her.
K: Sarah and I have been smoking together from the moment we met. It’s always been a part of our relationship. It’s not a third person in any sense, but a tool we use for our relationship. Our cannabis time is always intimate and intentional, it’s something that we choose to do together; it accompanies us on our adventures. Both of us deal with anxiety, a disorder that affects not only the inside of your brain, but how you interact with others. Normally, we need alone time in these states, but cannabis eases both our anxieties to such an extent that we can still connect and community. It helps us be strong and loving partners.
As an LGBTQA2+ cannabis couple, have you ever experienced backlash?
S & K: The first thing to mention is our white privilege. As members of a racial state, the colour of our skin has given us defences against backlash that LGBTQA2+ cannabis couples of colour are vulnerable to. The people in our lives have not always been open to our identities as queer individuals and our choice to use cannabis. We’ve remained patient and loving through this process of understanding with the people we hold dear, but brave against threats from strangers. It’s all much easier when we have each other.
The LGBTQA2+ cannabis community is starting to emerge as an influential force. How can the community at large foster its growth and encourage acceptance?
S & K: By representation and leaving room for the ambitions of LGBTQA2+ individuals. It’s important to invest in those in the cannabis community after legalization; queer people who use cannabis are a valuable resource for both entrepreneurs and consumers. Patterns in companies – as well the market that originally put these individuals at a disadvantage – should also be recognized. Efforts must be made now to instil awareness of exactly who is working on these projects. It’s an excellent time for LGBTQA2+ individuals to get involved and take leadership roles in this community, however the cannabis community at large must recognize the barriers that those individuals face – which their ambition does not.
What’s next for you?
Sarah: We’ll be in Toronto for the next few years. We’re on cloud 9 living together and will savour our first home as we enjoy this city as much as we can. We aren’t done, however. After this period, we hope to move to another city and follow exciting opportunities in our careers. Kate will be writing and learning how to take pictures, while I’ll be deepening my veterinary medicine knowledge and skills in new environments.
All photos by @fallforvee.