Dennis Peron, the Father of medical cannabis, passed away over the weekend in San Francisco. He changed the game for medical marijuana and path that’s leading to the normalization of cannabis. At 71 years old, he spent over three decades creating and expanding the mmj movement. A Vietnam Air force veteran, Dennis went home with two pounds and began his 40 year legacy.
“Peron founded the medical-marijuana movement in San Francisco nearly three decades ago. Two years after city voters passed Prop P (which he drafted) passed in San Francisco legalizing medical cannabis in 1991, Peron opened the Cannabis Buyers Club. By 1996, it had 10,000 members and a large storefront on Market Street.
Next on Peron’s agenda was to legalize medical use throughout the state. He and California NORML’s Dale Gieringer wrote the first draft of Prop 215, which would pass with 56% of the vote in 1996, making California the first state to recognize cannabis’ medical benefits.” – Steve Bloom, Freedom Leaf
He took on the fight for for AIDS patients and cannabis’ ability to ease their pain, pharmaceutical side effects, and other symptoms. In 1990, his partner Jonathan West lost his own battle to the epidemic.
“I came to San Francisco to find love and to change the world,” Peron said in reply. “I found love, only to lose him through AIDS. We changed the world.” – The Associated Press, The Cannabist
He started the first public dispensary in the country in 1991 during the peak of the “war on drugs”. He “lived life on the edge” serving cannabis to AIDS patients, getting busted, shot, and helping 9,000 clients before closing its doors per order of a judge.
“Peron lived long enough to see his activism vindicated on two fronts. When same-sex marriage became legal in California, he married his longtime partner John Entwistle, himself an outspoken activist on both national cannabis issues and local San Francisco neighborhood politics.” – Bruce Barcott, Leafly
Right until the end fighting with COPD and lung cancer, Dennis never stopped his activism.
“We are sure of one thing though. Without Dennis Peron’s tireless fight to help those suffering from disease, medical marijuana programs might not exist. And legalized adult-use? Absolutely out of the question. Those in the cannabis space—whether they are recreational users, medical patients, activists or journalists—owe a great deal to Dennis Peron.” – Chloe Harper Gold, High Times