Widely recognized as the “Father of Medical Marijuana,” Dennis Peron was an activist in California who championed for those suffering from the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco to gain access to medical cannabis.
Starting in the ‘70s, Peron organized local and state ballots to legalize medical cannabis, including 1996’s Proposition 215 (Compassionate Use Act), which allowed marijuana for medical use in California.
“The movement was about peace and love and was egalitarian. If you want to know the future, emulate the past.”
As the first elected openly gay politician in California, Milk helped to get Proposition W passed in 1978, directing the San Francisco district attorney to stop arresting people for possessing, transferring or growing cannabis.
"It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions."
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Worked alongside his partner, Dennis Peron, to get Proposition 215 passed in California. In 1992, they opened the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, America’s first dispensary open to the public. The majority of customers were people with AIDS and HIV.
Legalized cannabis “wouldn’t have happened had it not been for the AIDS epidemic,” he says. “This was a gay response to an epidemic. It was the gay community that legalized marijuana.”