Commemorating the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, June is Pride Month.
Since the first Gay and Lesbian Pride Fiesta in 1989, Austin has been celebrating alongside the LGBTQ+ community. Bringing color, diversity and new perspectives to town, now is a great time to support Austin's many LGBTQ-owned businesses.
The Little Gay Shop, 828 Airport Blvd.
Spreading joy for everyone, The Little Gay Shop sells trinkets, books and art exclusively by the LGBTQ+ community, while living by the adage "By Queers for all." With specific showcases of Austin-based, Black and international artists, the shop says it exists to support, celebrate and spread the joy of the queer community. The Little Gay Shop hopes to ignite the local art scene, where they believe LGBTQ+ artists are essential, by spreading queer art and gaining exposure.
Garden Seventeen, 604 Williams St.
Dedicated to DIY and outdoor lovers, Garden Seventeen is a locally-owned queer garden center. From its unique hangar-esque building, Garden Seventeen was brought to Austin by the same minds as Native Edge Landscape with the goal of making beautifully landscaped spaces a possibility for everyone. Plants of all sizes, shapes and varieties are all available with experts on standby, plus the store has a loyalty program, so you're rewarded for shopping!
Statement jewelry designer TK Tunchez is a lover of maximalism so her Etsy Shop, Las Ofrendas, is a store for people who love color, patterns and a flair for eye-catching. Flower crowns and combs, gemstones and colorful acrylic earrings are her specialty and give off Chicana and southwestern motifs. The shop is featured at pop-ups throughout Austin, including Frida Friday ATX, which amplifies artists who are "womxn of color."
Combining two loves, Indian food and chocolate, Harshit Gupta and Elliott Curelop founded Madhu Chocolate by sourcing high-quality ingredients and lovingly packing all the bars by hand. "Madhu," which means honey or sweet in Hindi, is central to their motto, "Be Madhu to one another." Flavors like saffron milk and vanilla fennel give the chocolates a uniquely spiced flavor, plus the store sells their own brand of spiced chai, inspired by Gupta's mother's own recipe. In honor of Pride Month, Madhu chocolate is donating 52% of the proceeds to nonprofit safe space Out Youth.
Skull & Cakebones, 3991 US-290
With claims of being the Hill Country's first plant-based craft bakery, Skull & Cakebones promises that going vegan does not have to be a compromise. The bakeshop sells all kinds of vegan sweets like the "Mutha Fudga Cupcakes" or Texas-sized cinnamon rolls, as well as a plethora of clean lunch options like cauliflower wings or vegan grilled cheese. You're guaranteed to find something for everyone!
Gelateria Gemelli, 1009 East 6th St.
Gelato, Italian coffee and cocktails, oh my! Translating to Gemini, the Italian word "Gemelli" was the catalyst for the Gelateria. Andrew Sabola, with a Gemini horoscope sign, and his best friend, also a Gemini, traveled to Bologna, Italy, to learn how to make gelato from the pros. Right now you can try flavors like Earl Grey, Roasted Banana and Miso Vanilla but since Gemelli uses locally sourced ingredients, the flavors change with the seasons.
Paws on Chicon, 1301 Chicon St. and 7601 S. Congress Ave.
Even your furry friends can celebrate pride month with high-quality kibbles and premium toys and treats at Paws on Chicon. The independent store recently opened its second location on South Congress and hopes to educate Austin's pet-loving populous on how to keep their pets the healthiest they can be. The store even does an annual dog drag show to raise money for LGBTQ+ youth and animals in need.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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