The Los Angeles Times
Thursday, December 18, 1997
Agents Raid Home of Writer on Medical Use of Marijuana
By SUE MCALLISTER, Special to The Times
Federal drug agents Wednesday searched the home of a man who is writing a
book about the medical use of marijuana and who has been questioned in
connection with the arrest of a pot activist, authorities said.
The activist, Todd McCormick, is awaiting trial on charges of growing more
than 1,000 marijuana plants. He was arrested July 29 in a rented Bel-Air home
filled with more than 4,000 pot plants, which he said he was cultivating to
treat his cancer. McCormick said he was also using the marijuana to contribute
research to an upcoming book by Peter McWilliams, whose Laurel Canyon home was
McWilliams, author of several books on coping with depression, said he was
working on his new writing project at 6:30 a.m. when Drug Enforcement
Administration agents came to his home with a search warrant.
He said agents spent about three hours searching his home in the 8100 block
of Mannix Drive and a house two doors down, where he lived for 11 years and
which he still owns.
Agents seized his computer and much of the research material for his
upcoming book, "A Question of Compassion: An AIDS-Cancer Patient Explores
Medical Marijuana," said McWilliams, 48.
A small amount of marijuana that McWilliams uses to ease the pain of his
illnesses was also seized, said his attorney, Harland Braun.
McWilliams said he felt he was being targeted because his planned book is
highly critical of the DEA.
Growing marijuana for personal medical use was legalized in California when
voters approved Proposition 215 in November 1996. When McCormick was arrested,
authorities said they believed he was supplying marijuana to cannabis buyers
throughout the state.
DEA spokeswoman Sharon Carter confirmed that federal agents searched the two
homes and Prelude Press, the West Hollywood publishing company McWilliams owns.
She said the search was part of an ongoing investigation, but would not comment
on whether the raid was related to McCormick's case or any other.