Women of Weed: Brownie Mary.

Rebecca Olmos
High Vibes Media
Published in
5 min readDec 4, 2019

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Women of Weed is a High Vibes Media series highlighting admirable ladies who work to educate and advocate for the cannabis community. This story was originally posted on HighVibesMedia.com

There once was a badass little old lady who baked pot brownies.

Brownie Mary by Maureen Hurley, 1992.

Baking weed brownies started out as a side hustle to make extra cash. It ultimately turned into distributing laced chocolate baked goods to AIDS patients, years of legal battles and eventually the legalization of medical cannabis use in California. It was all started by a seemly mild-mannered woman who was known for being outspoken, smoking weed and never being afraid of breaking the rules. She was arrested on more than one occasion for providing these pot brownies to the public. Not only was she a cannabis baker, but she was also an activist for the cannabis and the LGBTQ+ community. She spent many years as a volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital in the 1980’s when the AIDS epidemic hit the city. Her magical medicinal chocolate squares brought comfort and peace to those who suffered from the lack of medicine, research, and compassion that came with being diagnosed with AIDS. She was recognized and remembered for her heart of gold, fierce spirit, and even called the angel of mercy. Her name was Mary Jane Rathbun, better known as ‘Brownie Mary’.

Brownie Mary was a lifelong activist for civil rights and enjoyed cannabis.

Rathbun was born on Dec 22, 1922, and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her spirit and fight manifested themselves at a young age. At the age of 13 she fought back a nun who tried to cane her. Rathbun continued to march to the beat of her own drum as she got older. She dropped out of high school to become a waitress. She worked in restaurants for 50 years while she simultaneously traveled all over the country to advocate for the rights of laborers and women. After World War II, she moved to San Francisco. She got married and divorced and had her daughter, Peggy. Peggy tragically died in a car accident. Shortly after, Rathbun settled back down in San Francisco. She enjoyed the everyday joint and in the ’70s she started baking her weed laced brownies to get additional income. She advertised her unique recipe as “magically delicious” in the…

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Rebecca Olmos
High Vibes Media

I like to write articles about weed and poetry about life. I’m a Bay Area native writing about the world I live in for the people I love. @thatcannabiswriter