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Dennis Peron: R.I.P. to the Father of Marijuana

Kween Kannabis



dennis peron

Numerous reports out of San Francisco are confirming the passing of Dennis Peron, 72. He is the legendary cannabis activist who kindled America’s medical marijuana revolution in the 1980s.

Dennis Peron was an activist who was among the first people to argue for the benefits of marijuana for AIDS patients and helped legalize medical marijuana in California. Sadly, he passed away Saturday at 72.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Peron died in a hospital in the city and had been battling with lung cancer.

‘A man that changed the world,’ Jeffrey Peron said of his brother in a Facebook post showing Dennis dressed in a suit. ‘This is the Dennis I want to remember.’

Dennis Peron and his Work

dennis peron

Marijuana activist Dennis Peron sits outside Oaksterdam University, a trade school for the cannabis industry, in Oakland, California, U.S., July 23, 2009.via Malay Mail

Peron was a driving force behind San Francisco allowing medical marijuana. This was a move that later helped in the 1996 passage of Proposition 215. This legalized medical use in the entire state. In addition, he argued for the benefits of medicinal marijuana for AIDS patients as the health crisis overtook San Francisco. Furthermore, The Chronicle said the epidemic took his partner, Jonathan West, in 1990.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors recognized Peron, suffering from late-stage lung cancer, with a certificate of honor last year.

‘The father of medical marijuana,’ one supervisor called him in the meeting.”

‘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 History

Dennis Peron

California Republican gubernatorial candidate Dennis Peron gestures while speaking to supporters at the Rainbow Smoke Shop in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 17, 1998. via Newsday

A Vietnam War veteran, Peron spent some of his last years on a farm in Lake County. He was able to grow and give away medical marijuana. Also, in 2012, Dennis Peron wrote his book, ‘Memoirs of Dennis Peron.’ It was about a ‘gay kid from Long Island who joined the Air Force to get away from home.’

The Chronicle said he then moved to a commune in San Francisco where he befriended Supervisor Harvey Milk. As a result, he began selling marijuana. Then in 1991, Peron founded the first public cannabis dispensary in the country during the height of the U.S. drug war. For that reason, he got busted several times and was shot in the leg by a police officer, the newspaper said.

However, the cannabis club served 9,000 clients before it was closed by a judge.

After, he and his partner John Entwistle moved the country. Eventually coming back to San Francisco when Peron was diagnosed with lung cancer. However, he remained an outspoken advocate of decriminalization and LGBT rights and married Entwistle when California recognized marriage equality.

‘The city and the country have lost a cannabis leader who lived life on the edge,’ Terrance Alan, a member of the city’s Cannabis Commission, told the Chronicle.

‘He lived his whole life on the edge, and that’s what allowed us to lead in cannabis.’

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