FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
United States of America vs. Peter McWilliams
(Comments From Peter McWilliams In Federal Custody)
It is difficult to briefly respond to a nine-count, 41-Page, Federal Grand Jury Indictment containing 182 "overt acts", but I shall do my best. As several readings of the Indictment has my mind swimming with numbers, I shall use numbers to respond:
1. I have never sold a drug in my life. I have never asked or authorized anyone to sell a drug. I have never profited from any drug deal, ever.
2. I use medical marijuana to treat the nausea caused by my AIDS medications. If I do not keep the medications down, I will not live. Medical marijuana, for me, is a matter of life and death.
3. I had not used marijuana or any other illegal drug for decades prior to my March, 1996 diagnosis of AIDS and cancer (Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma).
4. I am a 49-year-old (as of August 5th) writer and publisher with more than 30 books to my credit and 5 appearances on the New York Times Bestseller List. Titles include How to Survive the Loss of a Love, Hypericum & Depression, How to Heal Depression, You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought, DO IT, Life 101, and Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do (a book openly critical of the drug war and the DEA). This is how I make my living.
5. I paid Todd McCorrmick to write a book, not to grow and sell medical marijuana. I admitted to being the money behind the Bel Air "medical marijuana mansion" (as the press dubbed it) the same day Sheriff Block stated at a press conference in July, 1997 as he announced Todd McCorrmick's arrest, "He bought the mansion with drug money!"
6. It was because I came forth with the truth so quickly in July, 1997 that I find myself in Federal custody in July, 1998. The DEA concluded I was a "Drug King Pin" and then worked backwards to prove itself right. It has used discarded gossamer wings to do so.
7. Todd McCorrmick's book, How to Grow Medical Marijuana, would have been online this week, had it not been for my arrest on July 23, 1998.
8. On December 17, 1997, 9 DEA and IRS agents came into my home, handcuffed me, went through every piece of paper I own, and took away my computer containing almost 2 years worth of work on medical marijuana. William F. Buckley Jr. said of this in his column, "It is as though they carried off the printing presses of the New York Times."
9. I am a vocal and occasionally effective proponent of medical marijuana and that is why I am in jail. I am the publisher of The Medical Marijuana Magazine Online and had discussed medical marijuana on ABC, CNN, MSNBC, CBS Radio Network, TIME, Los Angeles Times, and dozens of others. I have testified before The National Academy of Sciences and before Senator John Vasconcellos' 1998 Medical Marijuana Committee.
10. In my address before The Libertarian National Convention on July 4, 1998, my plea was for medical marijuana to be available to all who need it.
11. At no time did not violate Proposition 215, now The Compassionate Use Act of 1996. This is not The United States of America vs. Peter McWilliams; it is The United States of America vs. The People of California, whose political will is being trampled-on by the Federal Government.
12. California Attorney General Dan Lungren has not upheld his oath of office to defend the laws and the citizens of California against all comers--including the Federal Government. Indeed, as the Orange County Register editorialized recently, Lungren "Aided and abetted" the federal forces.
13. While in federal custody, I was denied my AIDS medication--which must be taken without fail six-times-a-day, a regimen I have followed scrupulously for 28 months--for more than 5 days. Already, a mutation of the AIDS virus maybe replicating within my body, one that science cannot treat, one that may kill me. In other words, my government has already taken my life for the crime of treating my life-threatening illness--a treatment approved by my 4 physicians and by 56.4% of the California Electorate.
14. Yes, I attempted to cultivate my own medical marijuana, in my own home, for my own use, using seeds purchased from a staff member of The Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club. Immediately after Todd McCorrmick's arrest in July, 1997--the first Federal California medical marijuana arrest since the passage of Proposition 215 eight months earlier--I "caused the dismantling of the indoor marijuana grow" and donated "grow-lights and other equipment to The Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club." (Quotes from The Indictment)
15. In other words, the moment the Federal Government actually did something about medical marijuana in California, I was out of the growing business--the first such attempt in my life--and I have not returned. I donated (not sold) all my equipment to the only seemingly federally approved marijuana grow operation in California--The Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club, now The Los Angeles Cannabis Cultivators Club. The club is still in business, still using my lights, and harvesting more marijuana per month than I had ever attempted to grow in my life.
16. Any sales I planned were to be legal sales, through a non-profit organization I had established before Todd McCorrmick's arrest, The Medical Botanical Foundation. The foundation lies dormant--waiting for the Federal Government to come to its senses... waiting for the voters of California to tell Washington "We voted, and we mean it."
In Federal Custody (with no bail-out in sight)