FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –
NOTICE OF PRESS CONFERENCE
Federal Judge to Rule on Todd McCormick’s Medical Marijuana Use;
Legal Federal Medical Marijuana Patient Elvy Musikka Flies in to Testify
On Tuesday, March 17, 1998, (St. Patrick’s Day), federal magistrate judge James McMahon will tell cancer patient Todd McCormick if McMahon will allow McCormick to use medical marijuana while awaiting trial for medical marijuana cultivation. Glaucoma patient Elvy Musikka, one of eight people who receive medical marijuana directly from the federal government, will testify that the federal government obviously does acknowledge the medical use of marijuana—and she’ll have the proof in her hand.
The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 AM at the old federal building courthouse at Spring and Main. Protesters are expected to show their support outside the courthouse, and McCormick and Musikka are expected to meet with them after the hearing to report the news. The precise time for this is not certain, as it depends on the court’s calendar and the length of the hearing.
At 2:00 PM, Musikka and McCormick, along with McCormick’s attorney, David Michael, will hold a press conference to formally report to the press on the precedent-setting hearing, testimony, and decision. It will be held at the Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Avenue, Corinthian Room, Mezzanine Level.
"The federal government sends me 300 pre-rolled marijuana cigarettes every month," said Musikka from her Florida home Monday. "I would have gone blind by now without them. I want to tell Todd’s judge this. He’s a federal judge, and the federal government supplies me with my medicine." Musikka is one of eight surviving patients in the federal government’s short-lived compassionate marijuana use program. It was shut down in 1992 due to political pressure, and pleas for its reinstatement have not been answered.
It is not clear if the federal judge will even let Musikka testify. He is not required to hear testimony. "I’m coming to tell the judge the federal government does consider marijuana a medicine, and I can show him the federally grown marijuana to prove it," said Musikka. "If the judge doesn’t want to hear that fact, he doesn’t have to, but I’ll be there to tell him just in case he does."
The four federal prosecutors handling the McCormick case—Nora Mandella, David Scheper, Fernando Aenlle-Rocha, and Mary Fulginiti—claim the federal government does not recognize medical marijuana and the motion for McCormick use of his medicine should be refused.
"How can they say this when I hold in my hand a prescription bottle of marijuana cigarettes provided by the federal government?" asks Musikka, who hopes to ask the judge the same question. The bottle will be available for photographing at the press conference.
McCormick, who had cancer nine times before he was ten, was told last week by the same judge that he could not use the prescription medication Marinol©, a synthetic form of THC, one of the active ingredients in marijuana. This unprecedented move of denying even prescription medication does not bode well for the more daring move of permitting medical marijuana use. An appeal of the Marinol© ruling has been filed and will be discussed in detail at the press conference.
McCormick was arrested at his rented Bel Air home (which he has since been forced to leave due to financial difficulties arising from his arrest) and released on $500,000 bond (put up by actor Woody Harrelson). McCormick faces a mandatory 10-year prison sentence (possible life) and a $4 million fine.
Both Todd McCormick and Elvy Musikka will be available for television, radio, or telephone interviews Tuesday evening, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Todd McCormick 213-650-4906
David Michael 415-986-5591
Elvy Musikka (Monday, March 16, 1998) 954-966-4238
Elvy Musikka (In LA Tuesday, March 14-16, 1998) 213-650-4906