IRS Joins DEA in Suppressing Medical Marijuana Writer and Publisher Peter McWilliams
AIDS-cancer patient Peter McWilliams has been informed that an IRS Special Agent has for some time been investigating his financial records and the financial records of his publishing company, Prelude Press, Inc. McWilliams was informed that DEA Special Agents called in the IRS while investigating McWilliams for cultivating marijuana, which is legal for personal use in California under Proposition 215 (now The Compassionate Use Act of 1996).
"I have no doubt this latest federal intrusion into my affairs is meant to harass and silence me," said McWilliams.
McWilliams has been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana and a sharp critic of the DEA's policy toward it. He is the publisher of the Medical Marijuana Magazine Online (www.marijuanamagazine.com). He was also about to publish a book on medical marijuana, A Question of Compassion: An AIDS-Cancer Patient Explores Medical Marijuana, when the computer and two external hard drives it was on were seized by nine DEA-agents in a December 17, 1997, pre-dawn raid on McWilliams' homes and Prelude Press' offices. To date, the DEA has returned only one-third of the computer-the part not containing the book-and only after a firm letter of potest from the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The information about the IRS is supported by a statement made by a DEA Special Agent to the staff of Prelude Press, Inc. during its December raid: "You guys had better start looking for new jobs. If the DEA doesn't take over [Prelude Press] because of marijuana, the IRS will. The government will own this place in six months."
"These are not just chilling words to a small publishing company," said McWilliams, "This is putting an iceberg in front of the Titanic."
"Here I criticize the DEA for running roughshod over the will of the people of California and for fighting its War on Drugs against the most helpless of all citizens-the sick and the dying-and what does the DEA do? It directs its full power against me, and then invites along the IRS to join in the fun," said McWilliams.
The IRS, McWilliams was told, was going over financial documents subpoenaed by the DEA or seized during the raid on McWilliams' homes and publishing company. "The DEA told me the papers and my computer were seized to prove that I was a drug kingpin," said McWilliams, who admits to being shaped like a bowling pin but not to being a drug kingpin. "Finding absolutely no evidence of drug sales (because I've never sold a drug in my life), the DEA now brings in the IRS to cover its hamfisted failure," said McWilliams.
The DEA in December also seized a truck McWilliams had leased to transport him to and from medical treatments. The truck was later unimpounded by the DEA. As with most auto leases, however, a DEA seizure forfeits the lease. McWilliams must come up with $47,802.25-which he does not have-or he will lose the truck and destroy his credit rating.
"The DEA knows these things will happen. This has been going on for almost six months," said McWilliams. "You'd think AIDS and cancer is enough to fight. Why must I fight my own government as well?"
But McWilliams is not deterred. "Marijuana is a safe and effective medicine. That is the truth. I shall continue speaking the truth. The DEA and the IRS will continue to do whatever they continue to do."
A DEA Special Agent recently told someone, "We've seen McWilliams' medical records. He's a dead man."
Replied McWilliams on hearing of his demise: "I'm not sure if I should quote Mark Twain, 'Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,' or to ask Tim Robbins to make a movie about my life, Dead Man Talking."