(By Dick Cowan, reprinted from http://www.marijuananews.com)
July 27, 1998, Los Angeles, CA: Writer-Publisher Peter McWilliams is being denied his AIDS medication while in Federal custody. McWilliams was arrested at his home at 6:00am, on July 23, by seven DEA agents for federal medical marijuana violations. McWilliams has not been given his AIDS medication since he was arrested.
"At the Bail Hearing, the Prosecutor, Fernando Aenlle-Rocha, assured the judge I would receive my AIDS medication," said McWilliams on Sunday still in Federal Custody. "I have not."
McWilliams was diagnosed with AIDS and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a result of the AIDS, in March, 1996. He has been taking the combination therapy of two anti-viral and one Protease Inhibitor since that time. Medical experts warn that noncompliance with the six-times-a-day treatment could lead to fatal mutations of the AIDS virus not treatable by the medicine. McWilliams will be arraigned on nine federal counts, all involving medical marijuana, on Monday, July 27th at 8:30am before Judge George King.
"Of the three vital components of the combination therapy, I have never been given one of them," said McWilliams in a phone interview from the Federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. "My doctor and every medical report I have read repeatedly stresses the importance of not missing so much as a single dose. I have taken my AIDS medication faithfully for 2 and 1/2 years. Now, there is a four day gap in that life-saving treatment."
McWilliams has been a vocal advocate of medical marijuana, an outspoken critic of the federal policies jailing sick people for treating their illnesses, especially since the passage of California's Proposition 215 in 1996.
"The Federal Government has arrested me to silence me," said McWilliams.
"But must it attempt to murder me as well?"
McWilliams has appeared on CNN, ABC News, TIME, CBS Radio Network, MSNBC, and dozens of other media advocating medical marijuana. He is the publisher of The Medical Marijuana Magazine online at http://www.marijuanamagazine.com.
McWilliams intends to detail his lack of promised medical treatment to Judge King at his Monday arraignment.
[Last-minute update: a judge has temporarily denied a request for reduced bail and house arrest for McWilliams, but has expressed concern about the denial of medication and will hopefully be issuing an order with regard to that. A legal defense fund has been established on McWilliam's behalf. We don't yet have the details, but you can get them by calling Lisa Sutherland at (310) 587-1469. Or get the information by subscribing to the DRC- EXTRA list for more frequent bulletins -- send e-mail to c mailto:[email protected] with the line "subscribe drc-extra your name". (Substitute your actual name or pseudonym where it says "your name".)]