FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 7, 1998 AIDS Patient and Federal Medical Marijuana Defendant Peter McWilliams Sues Attorney General Lungren for His Failure to Enforce Proposition 215 McWilliams Calls for Lungren's Impeachment PRESS CONFERENCE: 10:00 AM FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1998, HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT HOTEL, ACADEMY ROOM Los Angeles. AIDS patient and recent cancer survivor Peter McWilliams filed a lawsuit today, requesting that the Superior Court order California Attorney General Lungren to uphold his Oath of Office and fulfill his duties under the California Constitution concerning Proposition 215. The suit asks for no monetary damages. It asks the judge to instruct Attorney General Lungren to fulfill his Oath of Office to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California." McWilliams' attorney, Thomas Ballanco, commented: "The lawsuit is simply asking Attorney General Lungren to do his sworn duty, nothing more." The suit charges AG Lungren with four breaches of the California Constitution: 1. The California Constitution, Article III Section 3.5 (c) states: "An administrative agency...has no power. . . (c) To declare a statute unenforceable, or to refuse to enforce a statute on the basis that federal law or federal regulations prohibit the enforcement of such statute unless an appellate court has made a determination that the enforcement of such statute is prohibited by federal law or federal regulations." AG Lungren likes to brush aside Proposition 215 by saying, "Federal law supercedes state law." According to the California Constitution, however, the Attorney General must fight such federal encroachment (a "domestic" "enemy") until "an appellate court has made a determination." No "appellate court" has made such a "determination" as to the federal government's power to interfere with Proposition 215, a law specifically designed to protect the sick of California from governmental interference in medical treatment. Indeed, AG Lungren urged federal authorities to override Proposition 215 and arrest medical marijuana users. McWilliams is but one of them. 2. The California Constitution, Article III Section 3 states: "The powers of state government are legislative, executive, and judicial. Persons charged with the exercise of one power may not exercise either of the others except as permitted by this Constitution." The suit argues that AG Lungren overstepped his executive-branch duties and acted both judicially and legislatively by giving his own extremely narrow and limited interpretation of Proposition 215 the full force of law. 3. The California Constitution, Article V Section 13 states: "It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to see that the laws of the State are...adequately enforced." The lawsuit argues that a quick review of the basic tenants of Proposition 215 illustrates how inadequately AG Lungren has enforced the law. To quote from Proposition 215, now the California Health and Safety Code Section 11362.5, the 1996 California Compassionate Use Act: (A) To ensure that seriously ill Californians have the right to obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes.... (B) To ensure that patients and their primary caregivers who obtain and use marijuana for medical purposes upon the recommendation of a physician are not subject to criminal prosecution or sanction. (C) To encourage the federal and state governments to implement a plan to provide for the safe and affordable distribution of marijuana to all patients in medical need of marijuana. The lawsuit maintains this law is clearly not being "enforced" in California, although it has been almost two years since 56.4 percent of California voters made Proposition 215 California law. (450,000 more Californians voted for Proposition 215 than voted for Lungren as Attorney General.) 4. The California Constitution, Article V Section 13, states: "It shall be the duty of the Attorney General to see that the laws of the State are uniformly...enforced." The lawsuit claims that one need only compare AG Lungren's vigorous defense of affirmative-action-ending Proposition 209, which AG Lungren personally supported, with his open suppression of Proposition 215-both Propositions voted into law in the same election-to illustrate that AG Lungren has not "enforced" Proposition 215 "uniformly." McWilliams, 49, a writer and publisher for 31 years, whose books have appeared five times on the New York Times Bestseller List, was diagnosed with AIDS and cancer in March 1996. He successfully used medical marijuana under his doctor's supervision to treat the side-effects of prescription medications until July 23, 1998, when he was arrested by the DEA on federal medical marijuana charges. Since that date, he has been denied medical marijuana by the federal government and undergoes drug testing. All of McWilliams' actions-cultivating, possessing, and using medical marijuana-fall well within the protection of Proposition 215. "If Attorney General Lungren had stood up to the federal government rather than encouraging it to arrest the sick of California," said McWilliams, "my life would not be in danger today." The lawsuit maintains AG Lungren has placed McWilliams' life is at risk in two ways. First, McWilliams faces a mandatory 10-year minimum sentence in federal prison-a virtual death sentence to someone with AIDS. Second, without medical marijuana McWilliams suffers extreme nausea, a side effect of the prescription "combination therapy" used to treat his AIDS. "If I can't keep down the medications that are keeping me alive, I will die. I am a California citizen. I deserve better than this from California's Attorney General." The lawsuit also compares AG Lungren's actions with two other West Coast Attorneys General, Colorado's Attorney General Gale Norton and Oregon's Attorney General Hardy Myers. Attorney General Norton made a vigorous defense of the Colorado State referendum measure, Amendment 2, taking the battle all the way to U.S. Supreme Court. Amendment 2 limited gay rights. Attorney General Norton's personal belief and political stance, however, is pro-gay rights. Nevertheless, she did her duty as Attorney General and fought to fulfill the will of the people of Colorado. Oregon's Attorney General Myers has boldly defended his state's assisted suicide referendum, stating, "In the question of who has the authority to control the practice of medicine-the federal government or the states-Oregon voters have made the decision that assisted suicide is a legitimate medical purpose." AG Myers even stood up to the DEA. "Our view is that this agency [the DEA] does not have the authority to interpret medical purpose in a way that interferes with Oregon's assisted-suicide law." Attorney General Reno agreed, and prohibited the DEA from interfering with the doctor-patient relationship in Oregon. McWilliams sent a letter to AG Lungren on August 31, 1998, asking AG Lungren for protection from federal intervention into McWilliams' medical treatment, protection McWilliams thought Proposition 215 provided him. The AG's office refused the request. In addition to the lawsuit, McWilliams will be contacting the State Legislature, calling for the impeachment of AG Lungren based on the allegations in the lawsuit. "Attorney General Lungren has lately been praising his 'character,' presumably because he claims to have never cheated on his wife," said McWilliams. "But doesn't fulfilling your Oath of Office have something to do with character, too?" A web site has been established (www.lungrendoyourduty.com), containing documents relevant to the case. This web site is for both press and public. CONTACT: Ed Hashia 213-650-9571 x125 +-+ sent by the Prison Activist List <firstname.lastname@example.org> +-+ A project of the Prison Activist Resource Center. See the Prison Issues Desk at <http://www.prisonactivist.org/>. To unsubscribe, send email to <email@example.com> with this text in the body: unsubscribe prisonact-list In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.