Lady Business Series Expands, Draws Parallels Between Cannabis and Sexual Health

Leah Maurer

After a successful launch event, The Lady Business is expanding and gaining momentum for the rest of the series.

The event series will include 4 more upcoming events, all on the 28th of each month, and are hosted by the Cascade AIDS Project’s Junior Board, Jayne, Ladies of Paradise (LOP), and Eastside Distilling. Event attendees will have the chance to connect and learn, as well as sample various products, small bites, and drinks from companies like Muru and Copa CBD.

The goals of the Lady Business series is to increase awareness about Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and HIV testing, encourage conversation and dialogue about sexual health, educate attendees about various brands and businesses who support this kind of education, reach young professionals who are interested in volunteering, and work together to create a positive powerful impact for the community at large. Despite the title of the series, the events are open to all gender identities and allies.

While many may see these topics as unrelated to cannabis, the organizers of the event see many parallels between conversations about cannabis and conversations about sexual health.

Kim Lundin, Development Manager for CAP, explained, “When CAP first started working with cannabis companies we found common ground in fighting stigma. Although the causes are different our values and the way we fight to break stigma are the same. By joining together we can amplify our messages and create space to empower women.”

Lauren Short is a member of CAP’s Junior Board and is largely responsible for spearheading this series. Short said, “We have overcome so much with sexuality where we are much more open to talking about it; however, we still are afraid to take the necessary steps to keep sex safe and clean for everyone! With this series, we hope to help people understand how serious this is, to know what the experience of getting tested is really like, and how there is support and treatment (for free) to help you.”

Additionally, Short and the other organizers of this series feel that this is a great opportunity to help break stigmas of cannabis, and hope people see that this industry does care about giving back to the community. “The cannabis industry does not receive any of the same tax breaks or perks others receive for charitable donations, and are often deterred from getting involved with non-profit work. We want to use this series to bridge the divide between communities and industries to show that we can all come together to make something amazing happen,” she said.

Briana Burke is the Manager at Jayne, a premier cannabis retail shop in Portland. Burke added, “This series focuses on how cannabis can be apart of a healthy sexual lifestyle as well as help combat symptoms from HIV and AIDS medications. Jayne has chosen to participate in this series because we plan on being a part of this community for a long time, and that is why this Lady Business Series is so important. Education is the key to end sexual health stigma and to end the spread of HIV and AIDS. Our cannabis products are safe and clean, just like your sex should be.”

When Eastside Distilling learned about the series shortly after their launch event, the company jumped at the chance to be involved. Eastside Distilling is the country’s only publicly traded craft distillery and has been producing master-crafted spirits on SE Portland’s Distillery Row since 2008. Mel Heim is the EVP of Operations and Master Distiller for Eastside. Heim said, “Our hope is that this series spreads awareness of CAP’s mission and sheds light on the importance of open dialogue about stigmatized topics. The destruction of HIV and AIDS is preventable and with more dialogue and communal participation, and if we can provide a small tool that emboldens CAP’s message and brings their program success then we are honored to do so.”

All proceeds from the series will benefit the Cascade AIDS Project (CAP). Leighana Lynn is the Ladies of Paradise Event Producer and related to Heim about LOP’s involvement with the series.

“The Cascade AIDS Project does so much for the community that we felt it was only right to support them. We love working with groups that genuinely care for and help people, and CAP does that, and more. We will continue to host similar events at our shop and use our platform to help Portland and our community,” Lynn said.

The events are FREE and the rest of the series is scheduled as follows....

February 28th 6-9 PM

Hoxton Hotel

“Love Yourself” (Sexuality and Sexual Health: The Art of Pleasure w/ Ev'Yan Whitney)

*tickets and more info here

March 28th 6-9 PM

River Pig Saloon

“Empower Yourself”

May 28th 6-9 PM

Venue TBD

"Protect Yourself”

June 28th 6-9 PM

Venue TBD

"Pride Yourself" (in celebration of PRIDE!)