[Message from Reverend Damuzi:
Together the Peter McWilliams and Todd McCormick trials are at the centre of the war between the federal and state governments over legal medical marijuana. These trials could have repercussions for medical marijuana growers all over the US and even in Canada.
The following is a transmission from Peter McWilliams, who is presently being charged with growing marijuana. Peter McWilliams is also being charged with conspiring to grow plants with Todd McCormick.
Below, McWilliams describes the judge’s decision to disregard evidence that proves McWilliams was growing for medical purposes. The results of the McWilliams trial will also have bearing on the extradition of Renee Boje from Canada (see related story in the hotpot), who was also charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana as a result of the raid on McCormick’s home.]
Peter McWilliams wrote:
In the most Kafkaesque turn of events to date, the trial judge has granted the government’s motion and ruled I cannot use a medical marijuana necessity defense, nor can I mention Proposition 215, marijuana’s medical usefulness, the 8 patients who get medical marijuana monthly from the federal government, or my medical condition:
For the complete ruling (4 pages), please go to petertrial.com/kafka.htm.
This means my testimony will go something like this:
PROSECUTOR: “Mr. McWilliams, did you grow marijuana?” ME: “Yes.” PROSECUTOR: “How much marijuana?” ME: “About 300 plants.” PROSECUTOR: “Thank you.”
End of testimony.
The only question the jury will have to decide is whether I am responsible for Todd McCormick’s 4000 plants because I gave him a book advance for How to Grow Medical Marijuana or the 1,600 plants Scott Hass allegedly grew with his severance package money from my publishing company (he was the president of Prelude Press, Inc.).
The difference is the difference between a 5-year mandatory minimum (under 1,000 plants) or a 10-year mandatory minimum (over 1,000 plants).
At this point, due to my AIDS, I basically don’t have an immune system, and any stay in the germ-rich environment of a federal prison would be a death sentence. I would no doubt be placed on the “hospital floor” where the tuberculosis and other highly contagious patients are “quarantined” from everybody except the prisoners on the hospital floor.
There are three possible alternatives to prison sentences:
1. Ask the trial judge for permission to appeal his ruling to the 9th Circuit Court before trial. (In federal courts, almost all appeals are heard after conviction.) If the 9th Circuit permits us a medical necessity defense, I am confident I would be found not guilty.
2. Ask the judge after the guilty verdict to extend my bail during the appeal process. (Usually in drug cases, the convicted are taken into custody immediately after sentencing. Unlike rapists, kidnappers, and robbers, we pose a danger to the community.)
3. Ask the judge to sentence me to house arrest for the five or ten years based on my medical condition.
The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.
It doesn’t say a thing about the right to put on a defense.
(The investigative new drug program is the one in which the federal government sends marijuana to 8 patients each month for medical purposes and has been since 1972.)