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BEST SELLING AUTHOR PETER MCWILLIAMS
TO STAND TRIAL ON MEDICAL MARIJUANA POSSESSION
June, 3 1997
Author-publisher Peter McWilliams, who has AIDS and has recently recovered from cancer, will be tried in Michigan on charges of marijuana possession. If convicted, he faces a year in prison. The pre-trial hearing is set for June 5, 1997.
"I smoke marijuana to relieve the nausea caused by the medical treatments necessary to save my life," said McWilliams from his home in Los Angeles, California. McWilliams received chemotherapy and radiation in 1996 to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cancer is now in remission. His AIDS is being successfully treated by the new combination of antivirals and protease inhibitors.
"My only side-effect is nausea, which is common for people taking AIDS medications. Marijuana instantly relieves it," McWilliams claims. "I owe my life to modern medical science - and one ancient herb." Three physicians recommended marijuana for McWilliams: his oncologist, his radiation oncologist, and the doctor treating his AIDS.
Officers of the Michigan State Police arrested McWilliams in December 1996 at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. "I wasn't smoking marijuana in the Airport. I cleared the security check, and an officer came up to me and asked if I was carrying any 'contraband.' When I asked what sort of contraband, he said marijuana. I told him I smoked marijuana to relieve the nausea of my AIDS and cancer. I also told him I was a resident of California, where medical marijuana is legal."
McWilliams had only a few grams of marijuana in his possession. He does not know why he was approached by the police officer.
McWilliams is a native Detroiter. "My mother and stepfather still live in a suburb of Detroit, in the same house in which I was raised. My grandmother lives in a Detroit suburb, as well as dozens of aunts, uncles, and cousins." McWilliams' father died in 1972. His brother, Michael, writes for the Detroit News.
"I know the people of Michigan. They are decent, hardworking people who have seen their share of illness and hard times. I trust the compassion of a jury. I cannot believe they would send me to jail for using marijuana to keep down the pills that keep me alive."
At one time Michigan had a temporary law making an exception for medical marijuana. It expired and, in the heat of the War on Drugs, has not been renewed.
McWilliams tried Marinol, the "legal" marijuana-synthetic THC suspended in vegetable oil, but found it lacking. "First, the notion of swallowing a capsule and waiting an hour for it to take effect when one is on the verge of vomiting is absurd. Second, it leaves me very stoned and prevents me from doing any work. Third, it is impossible to regulate the dose, so fully stoned or nauseous is the only option. Fourth, it contains only one of the know healing properties of whole marijuana. Fifth, Marinol comes with a long list of dire side effects-including death-which marijuana does not have. (Not one human death in 5,000 years of human medicinal use.) Finally, Marinol is very expensive-more than $600 for a month's supply."
Peter McWilliams is 47. He has written more than thirty books with sales totaling 8,000,000 copies. His books have appeared five times on the New York Times Bestseller List. He was an on-air correspondent for the Today Show for two years and has appeared extensively on radio and television. 1997 marks his 30th year as a published author. His books include "How to Survive the Loss of a Love", "You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought", "DO IT!", "LIFE 101", and "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do".
McWilliams is the publisher of the Medical Marijuana Magazine Online (www.marijuanamagazine.com) and founder of the Medical Marijuana Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to medical marijuana research and education.
The pretrial hearing is set for 9:00 AM at the 34th District Michigan State Court, corner of Wayne and Goddard roads, Wayne Road exit off I-94. McWilliams will be available after the hearing for questions.
For the latest information on the impending trial, please contact the Medical Marijuana Magazine Online at www.marijuanamagazine.com.
To interview Peter McWilliams, please contact Richard Cowan at 213-512-1527 or Ed Hashia at 213-650-9571 x125.
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