Los Angeles Times

Medical Marijuana Advocates Accused of Cultivation for Sale

Friday, July 24, 1998



Todd McCormick, the medical marijuana advocate who says he was growing pot at a Bel-Air mansion to help relieve chronic cancer pain, was actually part of a conspiracy to cultivate large amounts of marijuana for commercial sale, according to a federal grand jury indictment unsealed Thursday.

The nine-count indictment charges McCormick and eight others with conspiracy and possession of marijuana for sale. Several defendants, including McCormick, had been previously indicted.

At the center of the scheme, according to the new indictment, was Peter McWilliams, 48, owner of Prelude Press, a West Hollywood publishing house, who allegedly advanced more than $100,000 to rent the properties and purchase equipment to grow the plants.

McWilliams was arrested Thursday and held on $250,000 bail. His lawyer, Harland Braun, (pictured, right) said the indictment was part of a government campaign to discredit medical marijuana advocates.

They allegedly tried to sell some pot to the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyer's Club, which has been dispensing marijuana since Californians voted to legalize the drug for medical usage in 1996.

Scott Imler, executive director of the Buyer's Club, said Thursday that his organization has never purchased marijuana from outside sources. "We grow everything here," he added.

In addition to McWilliams and McCormick, 27, those named in Thursday's superseding indictment included David Williams, 25, of Lancaster; Kirill Dyjine, 33, of Hollywood; Andrew Scott Hass, 34, of Malibu and Bellingham, Wash.; Christopher Carrington, 22, of Manhattan Beach; Greg Collier, 25, of Van Nuys and Bellingham, Wash., and Aleksandra Evanguelidi, 24, and Renee Boje, 28, both of Los Angeles.