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Dennis Peron
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    (April 8, 1945-January 27, 2018)
    Born in the Bronx, New York
    Medical marijuana advocate
    Co-founder of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club (1991)
    Co-author of California Proposition 215 legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana (1996)
    Before becoming a medical marijuana advocate, he was a plain old pot dealer.
    He ran for the Republican nomination for governor of California (1996), not because he thought he had a snowball’s chance in hell of winning, but to be a thorn in the side of the main candidate, State Attorney General Dan Lundgren, who had repeatedly ordered busts against the Cannabis Buyers Club.
    He opposed California Proposition 19 (2010) and Proposition 64 (2106), which both called for legalizing recreational cannabis use, arguing that all marijuana use is really medicinal, ‘even if it’s as small as stress or anxiety.’
    After being drafted, he was assigned to work at a morgue in Saigon during the Tet Offensive: ‘I’d never seen a dead person. That month, I saw 25,000 dead people.’
    He became a medical marijuana advocate after seeing how marijuana eased the suffering of AIDS patients.
    He crusade became personal after his partner, Jonathan Wren, died of AIDS: ‘I decided to leave Jonathan a legacy of love. I made it my moral pursuit to let everyone know about Jonathan’s life, his death, and his use of marijuana and how it gave him dignity in his final days.’
    During one pot bust, he was shot in the leg by a police officer who later said at Peron’s trial that his death would have meant ‘one less faggot in San Francisco.’ (1978)
    He noted about doing jail time on drug charges, ‘I always try to better myself. I taught a guy to read and write the last time I was there.’
    He was honored by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors as ‘the father of medical marijuana.’ (2017)

Credit: C. Fishel

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