Notorious SF: Dennis Peron

Peron Standard Time: Ferry Building Tower.
Dennis Peron is the Sally Stanford of pot. The Vietnam veteran and onetime candidate for Governor of California is the founder of the Cannabis Buyers Club, which vends pot to the sick in the City. In 1978, Peron authored Prop W, which directed that police and the district attorney stop arresting people for possessing, transferring or growing marijuana. It passed with about 2/3 of the vote. He authored the 1991 San Francisco measure, Prop P, which asked the state of California to legalize the medical use of marijuana and passed with 79% of the vote. Still a third Peron initiative, Prop 215: The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, passed with 57% approval statewide. While the majority of San Franciscans and Californians who vote agree with Peron that medical marijuana should be available to those who want it, the police do not. In August, 1996, about a hundred agents raided the Cannabis Buyers Club after Peron sold Bureau of Narcotics agent James Kerrigan a pound of pot for $900. Peron said that Kerrigan had gained his sympathy by telling Peron he was HIV positive and had lost his lover to AIDS. The politically motivated raid by Dan Lungren, a conservative who was then California's attorney general, backfired. It galvanized supporters of medical marijuana who passed Prop 215 a few months later. In November, 2001, Peron was arrested again. He and compassionate use activist John Entwhistle were busted after smoking a joint in a Salt Lake City, Utah motel room. Peron and Entwhistle both have doctors' recommendations to take marijuana as part of their therapy for alcoholism. (The verdict in Peron and Entwhisle's cases said that pot odor alone was NOT probable cause for a police search that would override the requirement for police to have a search warrant.) Contrary to the opinion that the operations of the Cannabis Buyer's Club are surreptitious, Entwhistle publishes an online photo memoir of life at the Lake County Cannabis Farm, where the club has grown weed for compassionate use for the past several years. The eccentric Peron and his posse of friends and supporters, sometimes called the Peronistas, are based at Peron's distinctive home on 17th Street near Sanchez in the Castro.

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Copyright 2001 Hank Donat home