Laura Washington: North Side dispensary Sway is deeply rooted in LGBTQ+ history – Chicago Tribune

Sway debuted this month in the Northalsted neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. It is a history-making moment that honors history.

The new cannabis dispensary, at 3340 N. Halsted St., sits across from Sidetrack, one of the most successful gay bars in the nation. Sway is “one of the first queer-owned and BIPOC-owned cannabis companies in the nation,” its owners say. The brightly lit, spic-and-span-clean pot store is adorned in trademark rainbow “pride” colors and shimmering glass cases that display the drug’s paraphernalia, gummies and other products.

It’s a collaboration between Edie Moore, an African American cannabis equity advocate, and longtime gay activists Art Johnston, José “Pepe” Peña and Kevin Hauswirth. Johnston and Peña, who are married, also own Sidetrack, the longtime anchor of Chicago’s LGBTQ+ entertainment district and the heartbeat of the political civic and social life in the queer community. Moore, an Army veteran, co-founded Chicago’s regional chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML, as well as the Illinois Minority Cannabis Business Owners Association.

I recently met Johnston at Sway for a tour. (I wasn’t there to partake — the stuff just puts me to sleep.)

Sway pays homage to the fact that “the entire movement to legalize

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