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It's Dennis Peron Time!

Hey dudes!!! It’s Alice here!! I'm excited. Can you tell? Last time we talked about the history of medical cannabis world wide. Even though Cannabis is still illegal federally, nowadays states are taking measures into their own hands by decriminalizing cannabis. This movement was all made possible by one gay man in the 1970’s.

Dennis Motherfucking Peron. A hero to patients now and forever. Peron’s story started in the Bronx in the 1950’s. He hid the fact that he was gay and eventually smoked weed. He said he looked “normal” but he always knew he was different….By 1966 Peron was drafted into the Vietnam War. That is in fact where he discovered Cannabis, as all the GI’s were self medicating for PTSD. A revolution that is still taking place among Veterans today, instead of the pills they are inundated with on a daily basis from their VA’s. To this day there has been no government testing on PTSD and cannabis due to legalities . But, many american warriors have started their own foundations on the subject.

Some foundations include, the Veterans Cannabis Project and the Weed for Warriors project; to name a few. And when Dennis stepped off that Air force plane, he kissed the ground with 2 lbs of weed in his bag!!! And he quickly discovered that the only place where he could be himself and help others was San Francisco CA in the 1970’s. He eventually became one of the city’s flourishing cannabis sellers. San Francisco police busted him any number of times over the years, but he managed to avoid any jail time until 1978. Prior to this arrest Peron’s Island Restaurant served cannabis upstairs, hot food downstairs, and hosted spirited discussions about politics, cannabis, and gay rights in the booths.

It was there that Peron met HARVEY MILK another gay hippie who would eventually become the first openly gay elected official appointed to the San Francisco board of superviors. He was our first Superhero. The first authority figure we could recognize ourselves in. And he believed in cannabis. Harvey and Dennis were a true partnership. And in 1978 Dennis finally found himself serving 6 months for possession of marijuana. He “found himself in jail on Nov. 27, 1978, when Milk, the city’s first openly gay city supervisor, and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by former city supervisor Dan White.” It is later speculated that Mr. White was closeted and he couldn’t face defeat from an openly gay man. This rocked the city and the world! The city was forced to stop attacking people for simply being “gay” and “Milk’s murder came less than three weeks after the city’s voters passed Prop. W, which demanded that the police chief and city attorney stop arresting and prosecuting people for cannabis. That didn’t happen.

With the death of Mayor Moscone, then-Supervisor Dianne Feinstein took the city’s reins. Feinstein, then as she is now, a fierce cannabis prohibitionist, quashed any further discussion of decrim in San Francisco.” Fuck yeah, Feinstein. Maybe this was her effort to try and resort peace to a city clouded by deep sorrow. Peron was DEVASTATED by the loss of his friend. But, he didn’t really have time to mourn as it was quickly the 1980’s and the HIV/AIDS pandemic had already reached Peron’s backyard. His partner Jonathan actually succumbed to the disease in 1990. At that point, Dennis thought about giving up. Peron recalls. “In my pain, I decided to leave Jonathan a legacy of love.” I made it my moral pursuit to let everyone know about Jonathan’s life, his death, and his use of marijuana and how it gave him dignity in his final days.” “Peron and many others in the city knew how their friends and partners fighting AIDS were finding some relief with cannabis.”

“The anti-nausea effects helped with the chemo treatments for Kaposi’s sarcoma and side effects of many early experimental drug regimes. The appetite stimulation provided by cannabis helped AIDS patients who were fighting “wasting syndrome,” a condition in which people find it extremely difficult to eat and digest enough food to stay alive.”

“It helped Jonathan,” Peron later recalled. “He was wasting from 142 pounds down to 110.” Doctors prescribed Marinol, the THC formula in a pill. “Jonathan just vomited the Marinol up,” Peron said. “It didn’t make sense.” A few puffs on a joint, by contrast, did everything the Marinol couldn’t”. In fact within this same time period a “series of human clinical trials established cannabis' ability to stimulate food intake and weight gain in healthy volunteers.

In a randomized trial in AIDS patients, THC significantly improved appetite and nausea in comparison with placebo. There were also trends towards improved mood and weight gain. Unwanted effects were generally mild or moderate in intensity. The possible benefit of cannabis in AIDS made it one of the lead indications for such treatment in the judgment of the Institute of Medicine in their study.” So, “Peron threw himself into the cause. He raised enough signatures to put Proposition P, which legalized the medical use of cannabis within San Francisco’s city limits, on the citywide ballot.” “In Nov. 1991, San Francisco voters overwhelmingly passed the measure with an 80% vote of approval.” 5 years later “prop 215 was approved by 56% of the state’s voters, turning California into America’s first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis."

This is all thanks to a gay military man who experienced a great deal pain through out his life. Most people in his position would have given up. But, he found hope and happiness in a little plant! We are forever grateful for the legacy he left behind. Before his death in 2018, he got to become legally married to his longtime partner, John. In November 2016, California voters legalized the adult use of cannabis. You could say that Dennis finally felt fulfilled, but a true activist's work is never done. I hope you learned something from this blog. This ones for Dennis!!! ✌

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