Pubdate: Sat, 17 Jun 2000
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2000 Nevada Appeal
Author: Associated Press
Related: Peter's websites:
Also: 20/20 has taken down it's page on John Stossel's Give Me a Break
on Peter, but the video is now online at:


LOS ANGELES - Peter McWilliams, an outspoken proponent of medical
marijuana use who was awaiting sentencing on drug charges, has died.
He was 50.

McWilliams, who died Wednesday in his Laurel Canyon home, had cancer
and was suffering from AIDS, according to a statement from Libertarian
Party supporters.

An autopsy to determine the cause of death was incomplete pending
results of toxicology tests, said Lt. Dan Aiken, a spokesman for the
Los Angeles County coroner's office.

McWilliams was scheduled to be sentenced in August for conspiring to
grow and sell marijuana to cannabis clubs. He pleaded guilty after a
federal judge forbade him to use California's state medical marijuana
law as a defense.

McWilliams was forced to stop using marijuana after he was prosecuted,
and his supporters contend his health deteriorated.

"Peter McWilliams was a true hero who fought and ultimately gave his
life for what he believed in: the right to heal oneself without
government interference," said Mark Hinkle, the party's state chair.

"Our office is saddened by Mr. McWilliams' death," said Adriene Hill,
spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office.

McWilliams and co-defendent Todd McCormick were arrested in 1997 when
more than 6,000 marijuana plants were found in a Bel-Air mansion and
three other leased locations in Los Angeles County.

McCormick was sentenced to five years in prison in

McWilliams is survived by his mother, Mary, and a brother, Michael.
Funeral arrangements were pending.
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