Sometimes, a single person can change the world
Like the rest of the US, California used to suffer from an inability to recognize the true value of cannabis. Legalization was not something that would even be considered, with marijuana users being nothing more than “potheads” looking to “get high.” Fortunately, we now know that there is much more to cannabis than what has been believed for the past hundred years and one person will always stand out as being the main reason medical marijuana has been given its rightful place.
Brownie Mary, whose real name was Mary Jane Rathbun, was born in 1922 in Chicago. She was always a fighter, never afraid to stand up for any cause in which she truly believed – abortion rights, miners’ rights, civil rights. She made her way to San Francisco and this is where she made one of the biggest differences in her life.
Rathbun picked up the name Brownie Mary for what should be an obvious reason – she loved making marijuana brownies. However, she wasn’t making them to “get high.” She was making them to provide relief to individuals suffering from AIDS and she wasn’t afraid of letting anyone and everyone know about her activities.
She was so vocal that she was arrested twice and charged with felony possession of marijuana. On the third time, she was caught in the act, mixing cannabis into the brownie batter when law enforcement officials came calling. She stated at the time, “If the narcs think I’m gonna stop baking brownies for my kids with AIDS, they can go f**k themselves in Macy’s window.”
In 1992, after being arrested (again) for marijuana possession, Brownie Mary explained to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors how marijuana was medically beneficial, giving concrete examples. The board ultimately passed a resolution because of her efforts that made medical marijuana possession the “lowest priority” of criminal activity.
Because of her actions, California finally began to see the light. Proposition 215 came about as a direct result of her activity and was the bill that legalized medical marijuana in the state in 1996.