A major step forward in the fight for decriminalization of cannabis was actually started by a bunch of overzealous drug warriors.
Everyone knows that cannabis can serve a wonderful tool for pain relief. It is regularly used by the sickest cancer and AIDS patients to alleviate symptoms and side-effects of treatments. Knowing this, narcotics officers in the 1980s and early ’90s made it a habit to target individuals or groups who were known to be using cannabis for these purposes.
This reached an extreme level on the night of January 27, 1990 when ten sledgehammer wielding narcotics officers broke down the door to the apartment of Dennis Peron. With him was Jonathan West, who was gravely ill with AIDS and whom Peron had been helping to manage his symptoms by providing cannabis and rolling joints.
During the search, the home-invading officers were making sick jokes at West’s expense. “Do you know what AIDS means?” one of the officers asked while holding West down with a boot on the neck, “A****** in deep s***.” Throughout the ordeal, Perron and West were forced to lie on the kitchen floor.
After all that, the badged gangsters only made away with four measly ounces of cannabis, no scales or packaging materials. Still, they arrested Perron and charged him possession with intent to distribute.
When it came time for the trial, the judge threw out all charges and scolded the arresting officers, saying he never wanted to see another case like this in his courtroom.
Shortly afterward, Perron used the publicity to pass Proposition P in the City of San Francisco which urged the state to legalize “hemp preparations” for medical use. Despite still not having been legalized at the state level, Perron went ahead and started the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club, and mayor Frank Jordan ordered the SFPD not to intervene or make any arrests. Soon, cannabis Buyers’ Clubs were being developed in cities across the country.
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This has been another edition of “420 Words”
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