Another casualty in the War on Drugs

Peter McWilliams died June 14th, 2000. He was fifty years old.

"So what?" one says. "Yes, it's sad when anyone dies, but it happens. Let us mourn him for a moment and live on."

Peter McWilliams was murdered.

"Well, this is slightly different." one says with a sense of concern. "We shall not abide a murderer in our community. Tell us, who murdered him, and how, so that we may punish them?"

The War on Drugs murdered Peter McWilliams. He choked to death on his own vomit, lying in his bathroom.

The nausea was caused by the cocktail of medicine required to keep him alive in his battle against AIDS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Until his arrest on conspiracy charges due to his efforts to distribute marijuana plants to cooperatives that served ill patients, he repressed his nausea with marijuana. Judge George King ordered McWilliams to not use marijuana during the trial, and as his mother and brother had risked their houses for his bond, he felt obligated to go through treatment without its use.

His alternative methods incorporated the synthetic THC Marinol that the government wishes the terminally ill to use in lieu of marijuana as an anti-emetic. They were still painful and time-consuming, and they ultimately failed, and now he is dead, murdered by the War on Drugs.

This must end.

LPPR: Peter McWilliams, a Martyr to the War on Drugs

2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web:
For release: June 17, 2000
For additional information:
George Getz, Press Secretary
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
Bestselling author Peter McWilliams is "murdered by the War on Drugs"

WASHINGTON, DC -- Peter McWilliams, the #1 bestselling author and medical marijuana activist who was found dead in California on June 14, was murdered by the War on Drugs, the Libertarian Party charged today.

"Peter McWilliams would not be dead today if not for the heartless, lethal War on Drugs," said Steve Dasbach, the party's national director. "The federal government killed Peter McWilliams by denying him the medical marijuana he needed to stay alive as surely as if its drug warriors had put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

"Peter McWilliams may be dead, but the causes he so bravely fought for -- access to life-saving medicine, an end to the War on Drugs, and greater freedom for all Americans -- will live on."

On Wednesday, McWilliams was found dead in the bathroom of his Los Angeles home. According to sources, he had choked on his vomit.

McWilliams, 50, had suffered from AIDS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma since 1996, and had used medical marijuana to suppress the nausea that was a common side-effect to the potent medications needed to keep him alive.

The marijuana was completely legal, thanks to California's Proposition 215, which passed in 1996 and legalized the use of marijuana for treatment of illness. However, in late 1997, McWilliams was arrested by federal drug agents and charged with conspiracy to sell marijuana.

After a federal judge ruled that McWilliams could not mention his illnesses at his trial -- or introduce as evidence any of the documented benefits of medical marijuana -- he pled guilty to avoid a 10-year mandatory-minimum prison sentence.

While out on bail awaiting sentencing, McWilliams was prohibited from using medical marijuana -- and being denied access to the drug's anti-nausea properties almost certainly caused his death, said Dasbach.

"First, the federal government arrested McWilliams for doing something that is 100% legal in California," he said. "Then, they put him on trial and wouldn't allow him to introduce the one piece of evidence that could have explained his actions. Finally, they let him out of jail on the condition that he couldn't use the one medicine that kept him alive.

"What the federal government did to Peter McWilliams is nothing less that cold-blooded, premeditated murder. A good, decent, talented man is dead because of the bipartisan public policy disaster known as the War on Drugs."

Ironically, on June 9, McWilliams appeared on the "Give Me A Break!" segment of ABC Television's 20/20, where host John Stossel noted, "McWilliams is out of prison on the condition that he not smoke marijuana, but it was the marijuana that kept him from vomiting up his medication. I can understand that the federal drug police don't agree with what some states have decided to do about medical marijuana, but does that give them the right to just end run those laws and lock people up?

"Give me a break! It seems this War on Drugs often does more harm than the drugs themselves."

Five days later, McWilliams was dead.

McWilliams, the owner of Prelude Press, was a multi-million- copy-selling author of How to Survive the Loss of a Love, The Personal Computer Book, and DO IT! Let's Get Off Our Buts (with co- author John-Roger), a #1 New York Times bestseller. He also wrote what is widely considered to be the definitive book against "consensual" crimes, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do.

He joined the Libertarian Party in 1998 following a nationally televised speech at the Libertarian National Convention in Washington, DC.

In that speech, McWilliams said, "Marijuana is the finest anti- nausea medication known to science, and our leaders have lied about this consistently. [Arresting people for] medical marijuana is the most hideous example of government interference in the private lives of individuals. It's an outrage within an outrage within an outrage."

McWilliams' death was also noted by Libertarians in his home state.

"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, state chair of the California Libertarian Party.

"His loss opens a gaping hole in the fabric of liberty, but his memory will live on not only in the hearts of grateful Libertarians but also in the lives of the countless patients who will take up the crusade for health freedom."

Peter McWilliams was born on Aug. 5, 1949, and died in June of 2000.

That's right, Peter McWilliams is dead. A brief summary of what went on with Peter McWilliams: Mr. McWilliams was a major advocate for the legalization of, among other drugs, marijuana, and he was very much a libertarian. He wrote the wonderful and famous Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes In Our Free Country, for which the DEA has never forgiven him.

Mr. McWilliams suffered from AIDS and Cancer. There are, of course, various medications that will hinder the developement of said diseases, however they are terribly harsh on the stomach and tend to induce serious nausea. In the case of Peter McWilliams, as with many other people taking such medications, he often could not even keep his medication down--he would just vomit it back up, and therefore it did him no good.

Forunately, he was a resident of California, which had, in 1996, passed CA Proposition 215, which allows the use of medical marijuana if one has a doctor's reccomendation. McWilliams got one, and the marajuina helped him keep his medications down. He got a lot better, his depression eased, he was more energetic, and his viral load dropped so far down, it was almost undetectable.

Then the Federal Government came for him. They arrested him for funding the growth of what they considered to be an inordinate number of marijuana plants that he had been having grown to supply cooperatives that serve other medical marijuana patients. The government prosecutors painted him as some kind of drug kingpin, and the judge forbade any mention of him having AIDS, of medical marijuana, or of CA Proposition 215 in his trial. You see, even though it was legal in California to use marijuana for medical purposes, it was still illegal under federal law, and since this was going to be tried in federal court, the judge figured that these issues didn't apply.

McWilliams was released on bail, but he was placed under house arrest, and the judge ordered McWilliams to stop taking marijuana. No longer able to keep his medications down, his viral load sky rocketed. McWilliams slept sometimes for 20 hours a day or more, since he was far too weak to so much as move around.

He died from vomit. He was taking a bath, started to vomit, was too weak to expel it from his body or move around, and he choked to death on it.

The media has been eerily silent about his death, and strangely in a sick sort of way, his two websites about himself, and, make no mention of his passing.

His books can be found for free online at

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