Goodbye to Peter McWilliams 6/16/00

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We are deeply saddened to report the passing of Peter McWilliams, best-selling author, medical marijuana patient and passionate advocate of freedom. Peter repeatedly challenged laws that prohibited his use of marijuana to control nausea and manage his struggle with AIDS and cancer. In the end, federal prosecutors proved too powerful and uncompassionate. Confined to his home and denied access to the medicine that had helped him, Peter was unable to control the vomiting caused by his AIDS drugs, and too weak to withstand it, lost his life.

Two years ago, as a keynote speaker at the Libertarian National Convention, Peter entertained attendees with his brilliant wit, but also brought a serious message. In a speech broadcast on C-Span, he called medical marijuana prohibition "an outrage within an outrage within an outrage." The first outrage, he said, to cheers, is the war on drugs. The second outrage is the prohibition of what may be the least dangerous recreationally-used, drug, marijuana. And the third is that patients who need marijuana should be denied it, even arrested and sent to prison.

It was less than three weeks later that federal prosecutors had Peter arrested and thrown in jail. A $250,000 bail amount kept him sitting in jail for some time, and only a visit to court, during which Peter was vomiting constantly, got Peter access to his legal AIDS medications.

Peter was able to live at home for most of past two years as his trial, and the trial of his compatriot, Todd McCormick, slowly progress through the court. He distributed extensive information about his case, his causes and many other interesting topics to an extensive following on the Internet. But in the end, Peter was not allowed to even mention medical marijuana at this trial, plea bargaining last November to an unappealable five-year sentence, which he hoped he would be able to spend under house arrest.

Peter's untimely death comes less than a week after he was featured by John Stossel on the ABC news program 20/20. It is very likely by all reports that Peter would be living today if he had been allowed to continue to use marijuana.

You can read what John Stossel, Barbara Walters and Peter himself had to say on the following two 20/20 web pages:

Please visit Peter's very extensive web sites and see the legacy he left in books and much more: (Todd McCormick)
The Compassionate Moms mailing list is organizing a memorial. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to [email protected] or visit on the web.

Please visit and to find out about Peter's compatriots and the campaigns to help them.

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Issue #141, 6/16/00 On Campus: Drug and Alcohol Arrests Increase, Hampshire College Students Establish Fund to Assist Drug Offenders Losing Aid, Campaign Spreads | USA Today Editorial Supports HEA Campaign, Other Press, What You Can Do | Goodbye to Peter McWilliams | Colombia Answers: Civil Society Asks US Congress to Reject "Plan Colombia" | Alert: Colombia Vote in US Senate MONDAY | Two Strains of Cannabis Politics: Hemp and Marijuana in Kentucky | Holland to Hooligans: Mellow Out, Dudes -- Dutch Authorities Use Cannabis to Tranquilize Potential Soccer Rowdies | Washington State Democratic Party Adopts Sweeping Drug Reform Planks | Follow That Story, Part I: McCarthyism in Syracuse | Follow That Story, Part II: Faint Glimmers of Hope in Texas | Hawaii: Nation's First Medical Marijuana Legislation Signed Into Law, Visiting Governors Suffer Symptoms of Contact High | Kansas City Star Strikes Again: Asset Forfeiture Series Exposes Police End-Runs Around State Laws | NEW JERSEY Alert: Whitman Joins Ecstasy Panic, Calls for New Penalties | Ecstasy Panic: Coverage and Other Info | Alert: Help Save Freedom of Speech from the Drug War | Alert: Minnesota Medical Marijuana | Media Scan | Hepatitis Outreach Resources | Event Calendar
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