MEDICAL MARIJUANA: McCormick Sentenced to Five Years
Medical marijuana activist Todd McCormick yesterday was sentenced to five years in federal prison in a deal struck with prosecutors after drug agents found more than 4,000 marijuana plants in the cancer survivor's home during a 1997 raid. McCormick and co-defendant Peter McWilliams, who has AIDS, were forced last year to plead guilty to federal drug charges after U.S. District Judge George King ruled they could not use a "medical necessity" defense during the trial. As part of the deal with prosecutors, the two pled guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for their admission that they grew the plants to "make money." According to federal officials, McCormick and McWilliams attempted to sell their crop to the Los Angeles Cannabis Buyers Club, which has dispensed the drug since voters approved a statewide medical marijuana initiative in 1996. McWilliams is slated for sentencing on May 22 (Rosenzweig, Los Angeles Times, 3/28). McCormick plans to revive his medical necessity defense in an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (AP/Sacramento Bee, 3/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.