The Folsom Street Fair is the playoffs for some of California’s most scandalous souls, and this year they could buy cannabis legally inside the event.
According to organizers, the Folsom Street Fair is meant to cultivate a safe, open, and inclusive environment for the kink, leather, and alternative sexuality communities, while centering on equity for BIPOC and LGBTQA2I+ people. It’s been running since 1984 and people from all over the world travel to San Francisco (SF) to take part in the festivities. While open and accepting of all, it’s particularly carved a place as a beloved event in the heart of SF’s gay community that’s intertwined with its kink scene.
Back in 1996 the San Francisco LGBTQA community helped backbone the effort to get Proposition 215 passed in 1996 behind their leader Dennis Peron. That year, many of the city’s AIDS activists became medical marijuana activists to help their friends and people with other qualifying conditions live a better quality of life.
There has always been a lot of weed at events in SF’s LGBTQA community like Folsom Street Fair. Now organizers have a mechanism to provide legal access, and they did. Vibe by California was one of the groups facilitating the sales.
They told us while they got off to a little bit of a later start than they would have liked, in just a couple of hours, they had already seen about 500 people. That’s a solid day for a medium-sized dispensary, and they still had plenty of time to push sales.
Richard Mclean from Vibe spent much of his adult life in San Francisco. He noted with a laugh that he knew exactly what he was getting himself into as naked people passed by us on their way to pick up their weed. Mclean also started with a big nod to People’s Ecosystem, a partner for the day’s events.
Mclean noted the team is usually doing activations out of one of the company’s seven northern California dispensaries.
“It’s a much different experience,” Mclean told L.A. Weekly. “First of all, the value of basket size, what they’re buying. So a lot of people are just buying their one or two prerolls and they’re really enjoying themselves. So it’s not as big of a cannabis base, but there are a lot of people socializing. They’re here with friends really enjoying themselves. So we appreciate that.”
We asked Mclean about the logistics of staffing something like this imaging they wouldn’t want some prude in the ranks that would sue them later.
“Yeah, so we’ve vetted our entire team,” Mclean said with a laugh. While the squad was on the clock, they had to volunteer for Folsom Street Fair duty and assure that they understood what they were getting themselves into.
“We also put them through sensitivity training through Folsom Street Fair to let them know that this is a queer event. It’s a queer space. And talking about people’s pronouns, things like that, making sure that we’re making everyone comfortable being here.”
Former L.A. Weekly Cover Garden Sonoma Hills Farms was one of the brands in attendance.
“While Pride is amazing and brings so many people together across the world, Folsom Street Fair is a uniquely San Francisco event,” said Joyce Cenali, COO of Sonoma Hills Farm. “The cannabis community here is unlike any other and so supportive of the brands that make the effort to make people feel seen.”
Cenali went on to note Sonoma Hills Farms was excited to support the effort People’s Ecosystem and called it a diverse woman and LGBTQA-led brand.
“Also, unlike other street fairs, Folsom aims to support locally grown businesses so you won’t see a bunch of large corporate cannabis companies here,” said Cenali. “More Bay Area and local canna fam.”
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.