Pubdate:  Thursday July 31 1997
Source:   Daily News of Los Angeles (LA) 

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

   ``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

   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.