Drug paraphernalia, books at would-be cannabis club seized

Drug Paraphernalia, Books At Would-Be Cannabis Club Seized

By Pauline Repard for the San Diego Union-Tribune, July 22, 1995

DEA agents raided a Rolando-area house yesterday, seizing a small amount of
marijuana from residents who say they are committed to making the drug
available to chronically ill patients.

The owner of the house, Todd McCormick, is in an Ohio jail after being
arrested Tuesday with 30 pounds of marijuana he said he was hauling to Rhode
Island for the use of people ailing and in pain.

None of the four men and women staying in McCormick’s College Avenue home
was arrested, but drug paraphernalia, books, and petitions on legalizing
marijuana, pictures, and videotapes were seized, the four said.

McCormick, 24, planned the house – and one in Rhode Island – as Compassion
Clubs, patterned after a cannabis buyer’s club in San Francisco for those
who find that smoking marijuana relieves the pain of chemotherapy
treatments, glaucoma, and AIDS.

McCormick says marijuana kept him alive through years of cancer that now is
in remission.

“I am not positive what’s going to happen (to the club) now,” said
McCormick, speaking on the phone from a jail cell in Stryker, Ohio.

He said that his van held a videotape of his home, showing marijuana plants
indoors and out. McCormick said this evidence was used to help the DEA
obtain a search warrant for his Rolando house.

“We were trying to grow it so it would be free; we’ve never sold it to
anybody,” McCormick said. “My friends at the house got rid of the plants
after my arrest.”

Residents at the house say they must wait to see whether they face criminal

“I knew the risk involved,” said Alisa Harver. 21, a part-time hairdresser.
“But when you see the patients and marijuana is the only thing that helps,
it’s hard not to help them.”

Plainclothes agents with drawn guns surrounded the house, forced open the
front door and ordered everyone to the floor, said resident Ian Dillon, 25,
a restaurant worker. He said it was frightening, but the agents eased up
when they met no resistance.

Dillon said he became interested in a marijuana legalization initiative
sought for the 1996 ballot, and that stacks of signed petitions were
seized yesterday by the DEA

DEA spokeswoman Heidi Landgraf said agents obtained the search warrant for
the house yesterday based on information that illegal drugs could be found.
She said the agency is not concerned about the intentions of those caught
with drugs.

“Growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is against the law,” Landgraf

She could not confirm statements by the residents that only one to two
ounces of marijuana was seized.

Medicinal use of marijuana has been a political issue for more than 20
years, particularly after the Bush administration canceled a government
distribution program in 1992.

The issue hit home a year later when Sam Skipper of La Mesa successfully
defended himself on marijuana-growing charges. Jurors agreed that he should
not be jailed for using a drug that helped the HIV-infected man to stay
alive, in part by stimulating his appetite.

McCormick said he has a legal prescription for marijuana, obtained from a
doctor in the Netherlands, but tha tpolice in Ohio did not honor the
document. He said he is being held on $150,000 bond, and faces arraignment
next week.