BROWNIE MARY, aka Mary Jane Rathbun (1922-1999), was a key figure in the fight for medical marijuana legalization. As a volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital, Mary rose to fame after being arrested several times for distributing her homemade cannabis-infused brownies to patients with AIDS. As a crusader for the medicinal benefits of cannabis, her arrests drew international media attention, eventually leading to the City of San Francisco to grant her legal permission to distribute her edibles to AIDS patients. These events inspired researchers in the medical community to study cannabis as a medical treatment for HIV patients in one of the first clinical trials for the drug. A noted cannabis activist, Mary teamed with Dennis Peron to help pass San Francisco’s Proposition P in 1991 and California’s Proposition 215 in 1996, both of which would ease laws on cannabis as a medical drug. She also helped open the first medical marijuana dispensary in the United States, The San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club.
Artwork by Dale Edwin Murray.