Alex Berenson, a science fiction author and former New York Times reporter, has written a book that would make Harry Anslinger blush. Anslinger, of course, was the longtime Federal Bureau of Narcotics director who waged a salacious, racially-charged sleaze campaign against marijuana, “the devil’s weed” that turned people into psychotic killers.
It has long been known that resinous cannabis flower tops are well endowed with medicinal components. But that’s not the only part of the plant that has been used for therapeutic purposes. Cannabis roots have also provided relief for various ailments in traditional cultures.
The huge underground cannabis economy was woven into the commercial fabric of California long before the 2016 passage of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for adult use. Transforming a shadowy, multibillion-dollar industry into a heavily taxed and regulated structure presents unique and enormous challenges. Who will gain and who will lose under the new regime?
If not for Dennis Peron, the courageous cannabis and gay rights activist who died on Jan. 27, 2018, medical marijuana might not be legal throughout much of the United States today. This book excerpt describes the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers’ Club, the first medical marijuana dispensary in America, which Peron established and ran in open defiance of federal and state law.