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Brownie Mary
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    (December 22, 1922-April 10, 1999)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Birth name was Mary Jane Rathbun
    Volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital's Ward 86 (the AIDS ward)
    Medical marijuana advocate
    Founding member of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club (1992)
    Campaigned for California Proposition 215 allowing patients to possess marijuana for personal medical use with a physician's recommendation (1996)
    She came from a conservative Irish Catholic family and said, 'Given my background and reputation and my adopted name, my poor old mother is surely turning cartwheels in her grave.'
    She said she 'came to California to chase men.'
    She had two short-lived marriages that ended in divorce.
    Long before she was giving pot brownies to AIDS patients, she was selling them to supplement her waitressing income.
    She said the police had insulted her when they listed 35 pounds of margarine as part of one bust: 'The narcs may not know any better, but that was the finest quality butter.'
    She refused to publish her recipe for pot brownies, saying she would sell it to Betty Crocker once marijuana became legal.
    Her daughter Peggy died in her teens in a car crash.
    Fellow medical marijuana activist Dennis Peron said of her volunteer work, 'She adopted every kid in San Francisco as her own.'
    She was named Ward 86's 'Volunteer of the Year' (1986).
    After her high-profile arrest in Sonoma County she said, 'With all the attention the case has been getting, he [the prosecutor] is probably wishing I'd just go away. But I'm not going to.'
    She successfully argued for the right to wear a cannabis-leaf pin to her court appearances.
    Among the people attending a candlelight vigil after her death was San Francisco Distrcit Attorney Terence Halliman who said, 'She will one day be remembered as the Florence Nightingale of the medical marijuana movement.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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