Another American counterculture icon has sadly gone from being a living legend to the pages of history.
Over the weekend, Dennis Peron, famed LGBT, marijuana, and HIV/AIDS activist (also a close friend of the late Harvey Milk) died of lung cancer (from tobacco) at the age of 72 in a San Francisco VA Hospital. Peron, a veteran of the Vietnam War, had been born in the Bronx, and grew up on Long Island, New York.
Peron was an author and proponent of Proposition 215, the voter initiative that in 1996 legalized medical cannabis in the State of California. Peron had previously operated the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club in defiance of both state and federal law, serving many patients with various serious illnesses, including cancer and HIV/AIDS. Peron had previously been arrested for possessing medical marijuana belonging to his lover Jonathan West, who died of AIDS two weeks after pleading guilty to possession. As a result of his activism, Peron was arrested 22 times and even shot by the police.
Dennis Peron was one of the kindest people I have ever met, and I consider it both a privilege and an honor to have had the opportunity to visit Dennis at his landmark home known as the, "Castro Castle", where I learned about history from the man who made it, while smoking a joint he had grown.
Dennis Peron brought medical cannabis to the United States, and proved that a gay hippie pothead can change the world. Rest in power, Dennis.
Toms River, NJ