Pubdate: Thursday July 31 1997 Source: Daily News of Los Angeles (LA) CASE TO SERVE AS KEY TEST OF PROP. 215 By: Lee Condon Daily News Staff Writer Todd McCormick's arrest for growing pot in a BelAir mansion dubbed ``Liberty Castle'' is likely to become an important test case of the voterapproved initiative legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes. It also could help resolve conflicts between California's new law and federal law prohibiting all marijuana use. At a detention hearing in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, McCormick's lawyers said he has had cancer since childhood and relies on pot to numb chronic pain. He was growing the pot for himself and to provide for others who use it as medicine, they said. A longtime activist for the legalization of marijuana, McCormick was a supporter of Proposition 215, a statewide initiative approved by voters in November that legalized medicinal marijuana. McCormick was represented Wednesday by three lawyers, including Alan Isaacman, famous for representing Hustler publisher Larry Flynt in his various First Amendment battles to publish pornography. In the recent movie ``The People vs. Larry Flynt,'' Isaacman was portrayed by actor Edward Norton. ``He wants to stand up and fight the issue,'' Isaacman said after a court hearing downtown at which McCormick's bail was set at $100,000. ``This is a test case of whether the will of the people of California will be carried out,'' he said. ``There is a clash right now between the federal government and the state of California. ``He believes he has the right to enter into agreements with recognized providers,'' Isaacman said. ``There are care givers in California who have patients who need it supplied.'' Isaacman said McCormick was experimenting with various strains of marijuana at the BelAir home. He said his client had hoped to eventually provide marijuana to care givers of people like himself who need marijuana for medical purposes. In court, U.S. Magistrate James McMahon ordered that McCormick agree not to use or grow any marijuana through Aug. 13, when a preliminary hearing has been set. Isaacman protested, saying McCormick needs to use marijuana to ease the pain of a spinal condition caused by his various bouts with cancer. ``He has a right to do it under Proposition 215,'' Isaacman said. McMahon retorted: ``He does not have the right to do it under federal law. I can't sanction a violation of federal law.'' McCormick was held at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles after McMahon said the potusing issue would have to be settled by another judge as early as today. ``He will be in great pain,'' Isaacman said later. ``He's come to depend on marijuana.'' Four others were arrested in the raid. Bond was set at $10,000 each for Aleksandra Kristin Evangelidi, 23, of New York and Renee Danielle Boje, and $15,000 for Hermes Zygott. David Wayne Richards, 25, of Palmdale was released. Sheriff Sherman Block ridiculed Isaacman's statements about McCormick using the marijuana for medicinal purposes, saying the intent was to sell to cannabis clubs around the state. McCormick was able to hide his operation because the home is set back and in an exclusive area of BelAir, he said.