One of the most important historical figures in the path to cannabis legalization in the United States is DENNIS PERON (1945–2018). A Vietnam veteran, Peron served in the United States Air Force and quickly became an activist for both the cannabis and gay communities once he returned stateside.
After watching his partner die of AIDS in 1990, Peron became an advocate for medical marijuana as a treatment, witnessing firsthand its positive effects on sufferers of the disease. He helped pass San Francisco’s Proposition P in 1991, which allowed medical cannabis in the state of California, leading to the opening of the very first public medical marijuana dispensary, the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, which he co-founded.
Peron also helped write and pass California’s Proposition 215, which would allow for the use of medical cannabis without FDA testing or regulations. He is often referred to as “the father of medical cannabis”. Artwork by Dale Edwin Murray.