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Term: Brownie Mary

Brownie Mary (Wikipedia)

Mary Jane Rathbun (December 22, 1922 – April 10, 1999), popularly known as Brownie Mary, was an American medical cannabis rights activist. As a hospital volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital, she became known for baking and distributing cannabis brownies to AIDS patients. Along with activist Dennis Peron, Rathbun lobbied for the legalization of cannabis for medical use, and she helped pass San Francisco Proposition P (1991) and California Proposition 215 (1996) to achieve those goals. She also contributed to the establishment of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, the first medical cannabis dispensary in the United States.

Brownie Mary
Brownie Mary at People's Park 1995.jpg
Brownie Mary speaking at People's Park, Berkeley, California, in 1995
Mary Jane Rathbun

(1922-12-22)December 22, 1922
Chicago, Illinois, United States
DiedApril 10, 1999(1999-04-10) (aged 76)
OccupationHospital volunteer
Cannabis activist
Years active
  • 1984–1996
Known for
ChildrenPeggy (1955–1974)

Rathbun was arrested on three occasions, with each arrest bringing increased local, national, and international media attention to the medical cannabis movement. Her grandmotherly appearance generated public sympathy for her cause and undermined attempts by the district attorney's office to prosecute her for possession. The City of San Francisco eventually gave Rathbun permission to distribute cannabis brownies to people with AIDS. Her arrests generated interest in the medical community and motivated researchers to propose one of the first clinical trials to study the effects of cannabinoids in HIV-infected adults.

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