Activist Dennis Peron, ‘father of medical marijuana in California’, dies at 72

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Dennis Peron

Medical cannabis activist, Dennis Peron, who is popularly regarded as the “father o medical marijuana”, passed away on January 27.

Though, modern cannabis products and hemp extracted CBD vape products such as CBD drip are relatively safer, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Peron—who had been a long-time chain cigarette smoker—suffered from late-stage lung cancer, eventually succumbing to it on Saturday in a San Francisco hospital.

Mr. Peron was widely known as a cannabis activist and was also a prominent figure in San Francisco’s gay community. Born in New York, Peron was drafted into the Air Force in 1966 and served in Vietnam—relocating to San Francisco after the war.

Peron was credited as a pioneer in recognizing the health benefits of medical cannabis at the peak of the AIDs crisis in the 1980s. His then partner, Jonathan West was a victim of the 1990 AIDs epidemic.

“A man that changed the world,” his brother Jeffrey Peron wrote on Facebook. “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my brother Dennis Peron.”

In 1991, Person led numerous medical cannabis reforms in San Francisco, and then moved state-wide in 1996, making California the first to allow the medical use of cannabis. At the height of the US war on drugs, Person went on to found the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, the nation’s first public marijuana dispensary.

“The city and the country have lost a cannabis leader who lived life on the edge,” Terrance Alan, a member of the San Francisco Cannabis Commission told the Chronicle. “He lived his whole life on the edge, and that’s what allowed us to lead in cannabis. Not many people would have had the courage at the time that he took up the mantle.”

Prior to his death, Peron had been living with his husband John Entwistle, in the countryside, growing and giving away medical cannabis.

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