Wayne Justmann and the LGBTQ+ community paved the way for medical cannabis.
“If it were not for AIDS in San Francisco. If it were not for the gay people who had this disease. If it were not for the people who supposed these people, we would still have cannabis,” he explained. “But we would not have the respect that medical marijuana joined together, because San Francisco is a small area. We got a million people but we’re all stacked together.”
Justmann was diagnosed with HIV in 1988 and says HIV medication made him feel worse. So he started using cannabis to help ease the symptoms. He then met Dennis Peron in 1992, who helped write the first medical cannabis legislation in the U.S after he saw what it did for AIDS patients. The two advocated together and helped form the early medical cannabis scene in California.
“There were no dispensaries, before Dennis opened up [194 Church Street],” said Justmann. “I think that the dispensaries were your gateway area, you non-judgmental are. How the hell can I judge you, because you look sick, when the rest of us look sick. You follow that point, there was no judgement.”
At 73, Justmann is still very much an activist and plans to work with the San Francisco mayor to make launching a cannabis business in San Francisco less cumbersome.