pridecannabis

Vaping Out With Pride Cannabis Founders Buck Angel And Leon Mostovoy

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Interview by Marcus Kuiland-Nazario

I first met Buck Angel in the early ‘80s, when he was a she and went by Laura, and was not yet a transgender porn star/porn director. Buck is even on my straight former Marine brother’s radar! I was introduced to Laura by my then boyfriend, Anthony Delgado, who has since died of AIDS. Laura and I ran into each other again in the early ’90s. We were both performers at the same clubs, me presenting female, and Laura presenting male. Leon Mostovoy, I met in the early ‘90s when he was also a she and went by Tracy. Tracy was a contributing photographer to the seminal lesbian magazine, On Our Backs and continues to chronicle the LGBT community and receiving much acclaim – exhibiting his photo-based art works internationally. Both of them have been among the forefront of Transgender activism and awareness. We met at Buck’s sun soaked Hollywood bungalow, where later in the day, Buck would be directing yet another porn film. Both of them, like myself and many of us in the LGBT community, have struggled with the by-products of growing up different and/or dealing with HIV/AIDS – anxiety, depression, addiction, pain management and insomnia. Many of these symptoms and afflictions are thanks to growing up in fear, being bullied, harassed, and being alienated at an early age. Buck and Leon created Pride Cannabis with a chemist, to promote natural alternatives to prescribed narcotics, as well as supporting general community health and well-being. In this lightly edited conversation, Buck and Leon share the founding of Pride Cannabis and their perspectives around cannabis and sobriety.

 

Buck Angel:

We wanted to start a venture that catered to our community. I consider myself drug-free and alcohol-free, but I use cannabis because it is a medication for me. It is not a drug. As an activist, I feel it is very important for people to understand how you do your life and how you run your life is your choice and nobody else’s. How you stay sober, how you don’t stay sober is your business.  It is very important for people to understand that if you need to use something to make you feel better and have functioning life, then that is medication.

Leon Mostovoy:

I agree with that and that is the problem with the sober community. There is a lot of judgment. Having worked in the sober community as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor, the LGBT community, being a Transman and coming from the Dyke community I can safely say that. If you are using cannabis as a medication it is a different thing than abusing alcohol or drugs. There are many people in AA that are on a lot of drugs, all manner of psych meds, sleeping meds, diet pills, steroids and all of that is justified under the umbrella that “a doctor prescribed it to me”. The LGBT and Sober communities can be very judgmental. I am not speaking for or from an AA perspective, I’m just sharing my experience and opinion from a Harm Reduction perspective.

Marcus Kuiland-Nazario:

I couldn’t agree with you more. There is a crab barrel mentality that exists among oppressed groups. Once a crab almost makes its way out, another crab has to come and pull her right back down into the barrel. Plus, judging is fun. I think it is because we have all been judged so hard we are just hard wired to judge others harshly.

BA:

Whereas all these drugs are masking the symptoms, cannabis can heal. The cannabis helps us, it does not make us feel disoriented or is any kind of obstacle to our success. We are very successful businessmen who use cannabis. When you take Oxycontin or Adderall or any other pharmaceuticals you are just masking your feelings and not actually healing.

zackary drucker

Zackary Drucker rocking a Pride Cannabis tee at Trans Pride at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza

MK-N:

How do you think Big Pharma is going to change the face of this business?

LM:

What Big Pharma is doing is trying to push all the little guys out. They want to charge up to $100,000.00. Why do they want to do that? Of course, they are saying “we aren’t trying to block people of color or women or queers, we are just going to make the license $100,000.00”! Also if you look at who is in jail for possession of marijuana in states that have draconian laws, it is disproportionately POC and privatized jails are profiting from this.

 

MK-N:

Race and class are always an issue no matter what. I’m also wondering how Big Pharma and the FDA are going to regulate dosage, usage, and access. It is such a minefield – smokable vs vaping, edibles vs creams, cannabidiol (CBD) vs tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). How are they going to parse that out?

 

LM:

The real problem right now is to just stay legal and stay open. They are doing sweeps and shutting down who they don’t want and bringing in who they do want. It isn’t fair. Regarding product, it is going to be completely regulated. They are going to make sure that it is the best product you can get. I don’t mind the regulation from seed to sale. Everything we do is completely legal, we have the Cal OSHA (better known as The Division of Occupational Safety and Health) signs up, we pay taxes. We are an LLC (limited liability company), we are a corporation. Yet they put obstacles in the way. They shut down dispensaries. They say “we are shutting you down, you don’t have a license”. You ask “where do I get one?” –  then they say that the license doesn’t exist yet. What are the laws? What do I have to do to apply for the license? They say, “Oh we don’t know yet”. We have complied with absolutely everything and thankfully we are still in business.

MK-N:

That’s fucked up. It sounds like they make it all very vague and nebulous. Who reads those crazy Cal Osha signs? They take up so much room on the bulletin boards, and they are so ugly. Which brings me to money. I know that dispensaries are cash businesses. Where does all the cash go? Is the chair I’m sitting on stuffed with cash?

Rain Valdez CBD water

Rain Valdez at Trans Pride at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza

LM:

I have several safes!

BA:

If someone was smart they would open a fucking cannabis bank to deal with all of the revenue these cannabis businesses are dealing with.

MK-N:

I just keep imagining that everything in your homes is stuffed with cash!

BA:

It is not just about making money. We can create jobs, we can give back money to our community, we can educate people about the benefits of CBD as opposed to narcotics and psych meds. We give a dollar from every sale to the LGBT senior center, we are actually donating money to our community.

 

MK-N:

Well here’s some feedback from me and my mom.

LM:

Your mom?

MK-N:

Yup. My 73-year-old, old school Puerto Rican señora of a mom has severe arthritis, Lupus, painful varicose veins, and Fibromyalgia. I’ve been after her to use your Buck’s Balm (a CBD cream, no THC) for her aches and pains. Finally, she relented. She’s been using it for several months now and prefers it to other creams and salves that her doctor has prescribed. She even asked me to show her some of your porn films! I wish she would start using THC laced products or straight up start smoking blunts to calm the fuck down, she’s very neurotic and highly strung. I can be too. Your vape cartridges have been great to calm my nerves. Been using the Indica dominant blend. For me though, I like having the option of either consuming cannabis or taking a Xanax. Choices, baby.

 

BA:

Speaking of choices, what is really important is that cannabis can help heal alcohol addiction, opiate addiction. It is a good way to get off drugs. Cannabis can be considered Harm Reduction. You can go to work and function you can keep your job. On our web site, our products are separated by THC or CBD. We can sell CBD all across the country since it does not contain THC. The THC products can only be sold in states where Marijuana is legal.

 

MK-N:

Will you be making any edibles anytime soon?

LM:

We do have a CBD mineral water.

MK-N:

That is so Hollywood, I love it. Maybe Gwyneth can carry it on Goop.

 

LM:

I got it! You know what we should make – Buck’s Balls!

MK-N:

Kind of like the SNL sketch about Schweddy Balls that starred Alec Baldwin?

 

BA:

Yassss! Chocolate balls infused with THC.

MK-N:

You have to sell them in pairs. What about THC or CBD tinctures for cocktails?

LM:

We are already doing that. We supply the CBD for Gracias Madre restaurant. Every product they buy from us we give a dollar to the LGBT Senior Center.

guinevere turner

Guinevere Turner at Trans Pride at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza

BA:

We’ve got several new products that we are testing and will be out soon. We also want to make a THC infused lube! You’ll be able to use it with my line of sex toys, of course!

 

MK-N:

Thank you so much for talking to Flagrant, and thanks for what you have been doing in terms of educating the community and giving back. Looking forward to the new products. Please send anything you want tested to the Flagrant offices, especially the lube.

 

(Buck and Leon photo by: Zackary Drucker, all other photos by: Leon Mostovoy)

 

 

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