At night you might find Chelsea Leyland, a 31-year-old British celebrity DJ, juggling beats at a flashy Miami party while rocking a Simone Rocha dress that complements her honey-hued hair and brown eyes. By day she shifts into activist mode, traveling the country, giving interviews, talking at conferences and filming a documentary — all on the complex and controversial subject of medical marijuana. Leyland wants people to know how she has overcome a crippling neurological illness.
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.