Jay Jackson, who’s also known as Laganja Estranja, rose to fame as the undeniable breakout star on season six of the Emmy-winning RuPaul’s Drag Race. The world-renowned choreographer and artist is a fierce cannabis and LGBTQ+ advocate who champions diversity and representation for the cannabis industry’s queer community. Estranja came out as transgender in 2021 and says she’s using her platform to educate the industry.
“The reason we have medical marijuana is because of the queer community,” Estranja says. “I felt a lineage—like my ancestors called me to do this work.”
Estranja started using cannabis medicinally in high school to help unblock her creativity while working on a dance piece that would land her a spot on the prestigious list of US Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the highest honors a young artist can receive. “I couldn’t figure out a part of the choreography, so my friend suggested I try cannabis,” she says. “It allowed me to be more creative and freed my mind.”
Later, in college, an accident during dance rehearsal led her to see a chiropractor who suggested using cannabis for pain management. It was a pivotal moment in her affinity with the plant. “I realized then that this wasn’t only medicine; I could also use it recreationally or creatively,” she says. “That’s when I developed a much stronger relationship with cannabis and decided to create Laganja Estranja and spread that knowledge.”
While Estranja acknowledges gender bias in the industry has improved in the past decade, she also says she believes “sexism and misogyny are still very much alive in the cannabis industry” and that women must fight harder for equality.
She especially would like to see more sisterhood support among women in the business.
“A lot of times, women have to fight so hard to get into the industry that there’s not always camaraderie among us,” Estranja says. “As women, we’ve got to come together and support one another. When we’re in positions of power, hire other women.”
She offers sage advice for other women looking to enter the industry: “Do your research, be educated on the plant and be prepared to come with guns blazing. Ultimately, you must be brave—it takes a lot of bravery to be a cannabis activist—especially as a queer woman.” (Full Story)