A true story, written in 1977 with a new ending in 1991. The “miracle ounce” was Dennis’s phrase for the amount of pot that San Franciscans could possess under a supposedly liberal city administration… But cultivation remained illegal, and so did possession of more than an ounce; so where, Dennis asked, did the miracle ounce come from?

I’m gonna tell you the story of Dennis Peron
Our neighborhood dealer, well liked and well known
He had something miraculous always on sale
and now he’s facing more time in jail

Tell me how many ways and how many times
must we be the victors of victimless crimes?

Coming out of the service, finally free
An idealist wondering what should I be?
Living with friends in a house in the Haight
he decided a new kind of space to create

It was a place you could come to, hang out and try
Gold in the old days, Colombian, Thai
and listen to music and choose what you want
without giving strangers no money up front

They didn’t sell hard drugs no downers no speed
only some mild psychedelics and weed
And hippies and housewives and hardhats came
and Dennis knew everyone by their first name

How many ways, how many times
must we be the victims of victimless crimes?

Rip-offs arrived with guns and knives
Dennis and company fought to survive
‘Cause they had a purpose and a whole lot of nerve
and a whole lot (I mean a whole lot) of “the people” to serve

They busted him all the time way back then
when just holdin a joint was a felony and a sin
Before that miracle ounce came in
Well would you believe he’s been busted again!
(That’s right)

Castro off Liberty one night in July
with Eyewitness News just crusing by (sure)
Ten cops got nothin better to do
Than bust Dennis Peron and his pot-smokin’ crew

How many ways? How many times?
Must we be the victims of victimless crimes?

Listen up people wherever you’re at
A downtown office, a Haight Street flat
That miracle ounce y’all legally own
Probly came from a pound care of Dennis Peron

Better get into his cause ‘cause it’s yours
We gotta get rid of these dangerous laws
If Dennis can’t deal with those Godawful pounds
How can we all score our miracle ounce

And how many ways? And how many times?
And how many victims of victimless crimes we gonna let them get away with?

That’s where things stood in 1977.. The epidemic hit in the ‘80s. Dennis started the Cannabis Buyers Club in 1990 and had drafted a Proposition (that would make the ballot as Prop P, as in pot) to make the medical use of hemp legal in San Francisco. So the ballad got a new ending:

Now many a year has passed since that one
and Dennis has seen a few friends come and gone
So all for love in the heart of the state
He decided a new kind of space to create

A place you can come to and hang out and try
Cannabis if you got a good reason why
Like it settles your tummy, clears up your sight
helps you relax and have bon appetite

Just an herb that groweth in God’s green earth!
Where Eli Lilly can’t patent its worth
So sign that petition, demand a truce
in the war on drugs for medical use

Same changes but instead of “How many ways…”

It could happen to you we’re all flesh and bone
But then you may find that you ain’t all alone
‘Cause now there’s a club, organically grown,
With care given thanks to Dennis Peron…
Thanks to Dennis Peron!