The father of medical cannabis has died at the age of 72. Dennis Peron made many significant improvements to our society. He was a leading figure in San Francisco’s gay culture, and one of the first people to realize the health benefits of cannabis during the height of the AIDs crisis in the 80s.
His activism came shortly after the death of his partner, Jonathan West, who died of AIDs in 1990. He knew that his friends, who were dealing with the disease, found relief with cannabis, so he began advocating for its legalization. He raised enough money to put “Prop P” on the ballot, which eventually legalized the use of medical cannabis within the city of San Francisco in 1991. The measure passed with a resounding 80% vote of approval, so Peron and his colleagues worked to take “Prop 215” statewide.
This too eventually passed and, thus, California was the first state with favorable medical cannabis laws. This helped jumpstart the concept of legal cannabis is in the U.S — which has slowly been spreading to more states over the past few years. Without Peron and his efforts, none of these laws and none of this progress would exist today.