Come Out Vegas sponsor The Apothecarium: State by State: The Right to Love and the Right to Marijuana
The Apothecarium
State by state, one by one, the laws changed. Sometimes by popular vote, sometimes by legislative action. For the activists creating this social change, it could feel incredibly slow and remarkably fast, all at the same time. Are we talking about the freedom to marry -- or the right to medical marijuana? Both!

Now that gay marriage has been accomplished in all 50 states -- and the right to medical marijuana is at the halfway point, we can look back at their shared history. Both have roots in the AIDS crisis -- when partners fought for the right to take care of each other -- and to relieve their suffering with marijuana. Both movements had to fight against unfair stigmas and false concerns that change would somehow harm children.

What once seemed like pipe dreams, have become reality.

Four and a half decades ago, in Baker vs. Nelson, two University of Minnesota students, John 'Jack' Baker and James Michael McConnell, first fought for the right for a same-sex marriage license. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against them, and the case set a precedent for blocking same-sex marriage efforts.

It wasn’t until 14 years later in 1984, when the Nation’s first domestic partnership laws were passed in California. What started in California, slowly spread to the rest of the nation. The same was true for medical marijuana. California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.

More than 15 years later, that change spread to Nevada. In 2013, our state passed comprehensive medical marijuana legislation -- with the first dispensaries opening in recent months.

Not surprisingly, the California dispensary most associated with the LGBT community, The Apothecarium, has now opened a sister dispensary in Las Vegas at West Sahara and Buffalo (

The original Apothecarium is located in the heart of the Castro, S.F.’s world famous gay district. A majority of their employees are queer and they probably serve more LGBT patients than any other dispensary in the world.

“Pride Weekend is probably the busiest time of the year at the dispensary,” said Chase Chambers, The Apothecarium’s General Manager and an out gay man. “We’ve been proud to make donations to support marriage equality, AIDS nonprofits and all sorts of groups supporting the LGBT community. We want to bring the same spirit of inclusion and community engagement to our Las Vegas store.”

Both medical marijuana and the freedom to marry movements had to overcome more than their fair share of fear and ignorance. Marriage equality ultimately succeeded through the efforts of a united community. Here’s to hoping the right to medicate in all 50 states isn’t far behind!

Apothecarium Official Website