McCormick & McWilliams denied medical marijuana defense, enter pleas

Todd McCormick and Peter McWilliams, barred by a federal judge from presenting any information regarding the medicinal use of marijuana, their own medical conditions or even the existence of Proposition 215, have entered separate guilty pleas in federal court in California.

McCormick, who has battled a variety of cancers since he was 10 years old, is a staunch advocate of the medicinal uses of marijuana. McWilliams, a New York Times best-selling author, suffering from both AIDS and cancer, also credits medical marijuana with keeping him alive.

McWilliams, from his wheelchair, gave up his right to appeal the decision in return for a sentence of 0-5 years in the hope that his deteriorating medical condition would convince the judge to give him probation rather than jail time. McCormick pled guilty to counts that carry a five-year mandatory minimum prison term, but in so doing, maintained the right to appeal the judge's decision denying him a medical defense.

"The government is accusing us of attempting to sell marijuana to a medicinal buyers' club, and yet they say that we can't even discuss the medical issues in our own defense. That's just outrageous," McCormick told The Week Online.

McCormick and his attorneys hope that the judge will allow him to remain free pending his appeal. He has been free on half a million dollars bond, put up by actor and activist Woody Harrelson since his arrest last year.