Document:California Press Release 15 June 2000 Libertarians Mourn Passing of Medical Marijuana Activist Peter McWiliams

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14547 Titus Street, Suite 214
Panorama City, CA 91402
For immediate release: June 15, 2000
For additional information:
Juan Ros, Executive Director
Phone: (818) 782-8400

Libertarians mourn passing of medical marijuana activist Peter McWilliams

LOS ANGELES -- California Libertarians are mourning the passing of Peter McWilliams, the #1 best selling author of "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do," "How to Survive the Loss of a Love," and "The Personal Computer Book," who died in his Los Angeles home yesterday at the age of 50.

McWilliams was an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana. He was diagnosed with AIDS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in March, 1996 and used medical marijuana to combat the nausea caused by his medical treatments. He joined the Libertarian Party in 1998 following a nationally televised speech at the Libertarian National Convention.

"Peter McWilliams was a true hero who fought and ultimately gave his life for what he believed in: the right to heal oneself without government interference," declared Libertarian state chair Mark Hinkle.

"His loss opens a gaping hole in the fabric of liberty, but his memory will live on not only in the hearts of grateful Libertarians but also in the lives of the countless patients who will take up the crusade for health freedom."

McWilliams was arrested in 1998 and charged with conspiracy to sell marijuana plants that he had been growing to supply cooperatives that serve other medical marijuana patients in California. McWilliams was forced to plead guilty after the federal judge presiding over the case refused to allow any mention of Proposition 215, the landmark 1996 California ballot initiative that legalized medical marijuana.

At the time of his death, McWilliams was awaiting sentencing on the marijuana charges. His health was failing after Judge George King ordered McWilliams not to use medical marijuana. According to sources, McWilliams was found in his bathroom choked on his vomit.

"The War on Drugs has sadly produced another casualty," said Hinkle. "Had Peter been allowed to take medical marijuana, he could have kept his nausea under control and probably prevented his death. Americans should be outraged that the government allowed Peter to die, and Judge King should be held accountable for his decision -- which amounted to a death sentence for Peter.

"On behalf of all Libertarians, we send our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. Peter's exceptional commitment to liberty and freedom was rare, and he will be sorely missed."