AKA Dennis Robert Peron
Birthplace: Bronx, NY
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Gay
Party Affiliation: Republican
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Medical marijuana
Military service: US Air Force (Vietnam War)
Dennis Peron is a gay rights, AIDS, and medical marijuana activist, best known for Proposition 215 (the Compassionate Use Act of 1996), the ballot initiative which legalized marijuana for medical use in California. He became a marijuana dealer after returning from the Vietnam war in 1969, and in the 1970s he ran San Francisco's most famous marijuana shop, the Big Top pot supermarket, from his home on Castro street. His arrests made him a political activist for pot legalization, and in 1978 he authored Proposition W, which passed in a landslide and directed the District Attorney to stop arresting people for possessing, transferring or growing marijuana.
He refocused his efforts on the legalization of medical marijuana after seeing his longtime lover, Jonathan West, beaten by police in a raid on their home, as West was dying of AIDS in 1990. In 1991 Peron authored another successful city ballot measure, Proposition P, which asked the state to legalize the use of medical marijuana (a term coined by Peron). He then co-authored and became the public face of Proposition 215, after bills legalizing medicinal marijuana had been passed twice by the state legislature but vetoed twice by California Governor Pete Wilson. Peron organized the effort that gathered 763,000 signatures to put it on the state-wide ballot, and the initiative was passed in 1996.
Describing himself as "a Republican, a liberal Republican", Peron opened San Francisco's first un-hidden marijuana clinic, the Cannabis Buyers Club (a.k.a. Cannabis Cultivators Club) in 1995. Following several years of legal problems stemming from police raids on his marijuana dispensary, Peron has been "semi-retired" from activism since the late 1990s. He presently runs a bed-and-breakfast from his home in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood.
Boyfriend: Jonathan West (b. circa 1961, together 1983-90, d. 1990 AIDS)
Drug Possession: Marijuana
Shot by Police 1978 drug raid at his San Francisco home
Risk Factors: Smoking, Marijuana, LSD
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Super High Me (20-Apr-2008) · Himself
Author of books:
Brownie Mary's Marijuana Cookbook and Dennis Peron's Recipe for Social Change (1996, with Mary Rathbun)
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