The LGBTQ community and cannabis have been connected for decades. And not just because studies confirm that the LGBTQ community is more likely to consume cannabis. But instead, because the push for medical marijuana commenced due to the AIDS epidemic.
While several advocates were involved in progressing the legalization of medical marijuana, two are best known for laying the groundwork: Dennis Peron and Brownie Mary.
The cannabis industry received legalization and is continually growing in acceptance due to the LGBTQ community and advocates like Brownie Mary and Dennis Peron. The significance of their work within the LGBTQ AIDS community cannot be overstressed. Here is what they did and why you should know them.
In the 1960s, Dennis Peron, an openly gay man, was well known in San Francisco for selling cannabis. When the AIDS epidemic hit, Peron found himself with more and more clients: those suffering from the disease came to him for relief. Before modern treatments were available, many infected with HIV and AIDs heavily relied on cannabis to fight off their nausea and wasting syndrome.
One of Peron's patients was his partner, which allowed him to witness firsthand the relief cannabis provided him in his battle against AIDS. After his partner passed, Peron doubled down on his support for medical marijuana and fully dedicated himself to the fight for legalization. In 1996, he established the Cannabis Buyers Club with the help of cannabis activist Brownie Mary. Peron supported Prop P, which passed and allowed cannabis for medical use in his push for legalization. Additionally, Peron co-authored Prop 215, which authorizes medical marijuana use in California.
Mary Jane Rathburn, better known as Brownie Mary, did more than just partner with Peron to fight for medical marijuana.
Like Peron, Brownie Mary was known in San Francisco for selling cannabis; however, she was best known for selling cannabis-infused pot brownies. In 1981, Brownie Mary was arrested for selling weed. Consequently, she was given community service where she worked with AIDS patients. During her service, she began supplying the patients with her legendary brownies, and at her peak, it is said that she was giving 1,600 brownies a month to AIDS patients in hospital wards.