Medical Marijuana

Where is the compassion?


RIP: Died in year 2000 at age 50

Peter McWilliams


HIV / AIDS patient charged with conspiracy to cultivate marijuana


Died due to medical complications after being stripped of his state-endowed right to medical marijuana


Peter McWilliams was a best-selling writer and publisher of many self-help and other books. Among his best-known works are How to Survive the Loss of a Love, Life 101 and Ain't Nobody's Business if You do. Having repeatedly pulled his life together after hardships and bouts with depression, he wrote books to help others rise above adversity.

In March1996, Peter was diagnosed with AIDS and cancer. Using the chemotherapy and radiation to fight the cancer and combination therapy for the AIDS, he found that the cure was almost worse than the disease. Nauseous, unable to eat and bereft of his appetite, Peter began to waste away at his scenic hilltop home overlooking the Los Angeles basin. Fortunately, he found that using cannabis allowed him to keep down the drugs and fight the diseases.

Peter told himself that if he lived, he would devote his life to getting medical marijuana to all the sick people who needed it. He made a remarkable recovery and was once again his positive, vivacious, productive self. Even better, California voters passed Proposition 215, which legalized cultivation and use of medical marijuana. Peter became an outspoken advocate, and he commissioned Todd McCormick, an activist and patient, to write a book on cultivating different strains of medical marijuana for different illnesses. Todd began his research by doing his own grow, which was soon raided by the DEA.

Peter, Todd and others were charged with a marijuana conspiracy. Since federal law does not allow medical marijuana, the judge and prosecutors forced them to stop using medical marijuana as terms of their release. Random drug testing and the prospect that his mother's and brother's homes would be forfeited if marijuana was detected in his urine assured Peter's compliance with these terms. With no legal defense left and facing a 10-year sentence, McWilliams pled to a lesser charge and got five years. While awaiting sentencing, Peter choked to death on his own vomit. For this AIDS patient, the government's denial of the medicine that controlled his nausea became a death sentence.

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