Gay Flags Fluttering Less But LGBTQ+ Community Still Playing Essential Role In Cannabis Industry


Now that the gay pride flags have stopped flapping in the breeze or have been removed from shop windows, might we gently remind everyone that the cannabis industry as we know it today – a booming multi-million-dollar enterprise – would not exist were it not for the work of LGBTQ+ compassionate care advocates. 

Yet the fledgling sector, like most, still has a lot of work ahead of it if it hopes to build a truly inclusive culture. With the help of a recent report from Vangst, the leading hiring platform within the cannabis industry, we’d like to share some insights into how the sector can create a more inclusive workplace and why it should.

“Issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion are important year-round, but we hope that leveraging our unique insights into cannabis during Pride month will give the industry something to both be proud of and work toward,” Karson Humison, founder and CEO of Vangst told Benzinga. “The strong LGBTQ+ representation displayed in our analysis is just one more unique trait of an unprecedented industry and one more reason I’m proud to work in cannabis.”

Let’s look at the stats

  • Nearly 14% of respondents to Vangst’s 2021 Salary Guide Survey reported that they identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. 
  • When compared to the overall corporate workforce, LGBTQ+ employees have a bigger presence in the cannabis space
  • 100% of the companies surveyed by Vangst now offer some form of benefits to their full-time workforce since surveying began. 

Here’s what cannabis companies can do to make their workplaces and benefits packages more inclusive for their LGBTQ+ employees:

  • Partner with health insurance companies that provide benefits for domestic partners, including granting family, medical, and bereavement leave for domestic partners and their children. 
  • Offer at least one health plan to all employees that affirmatively and explicitly covers medically necessary health services for transgender people, including gender transition-related treatment 
  • Publish written gender transition guidelines documenting supportive policies/practices on issues pertinent to workplace gender transition. 
  • Ensure your DEI initiative, diversity council or working group specifically includes LGBTQ+ diversity in its mission, and establish inclusive hiring practices within all levels of the organization. 

Humison assured Bengzinga that Vangst is keeping on top of these important statistics, which is to say, the direction of the cannabis industry and how it moves forward as an inclusive, fair and equitable space for all involved. “Expect more report-style resources for the cannabis community to be released regularly as we provide insights on hiring trends, industry operations, and the future of the cannabis workforce,” Humison said. 

Photo by Margaux Bellott on Unsplash


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