The Konformist

December 2000

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Fri, 27 Oct 2000



Disabled author tortured in US prison for his beliefs

Medical Marijuana patient, grower, activist, and author, Todd McCormick, in federal prison awaiting appeal is currently in solitary confinement after testing positive for marijuana metabolites. McCormick, treated for cancer nine times before the age of ten, faces 5 years in federal prison for openly growing a medical marijuana garden in a rented home in Los Angeles following the passage of California's landmark medical marijuana law, Proposition 215, in 1996.

The Department of Justice pledges to continue resisting California's voter-approved medical marijuana law, arguing the government has the right to penalize doctors who recommend cannabis by revoking their licenses to dispense medication.

Department of Justice lawyer Joseph W. Lobue told the judge in McCormick's case that the government doesn't care whether California voters approved the Compassionate Use Act, which allows patients to grow and possess marijuana for medical use with a doctor's recommendation. "It doesn't matter what California says," Lobue argued.

McCormick, author of How to Grow Medical Marijuana (available through, had his book project funded by late-author, AIDS and cancer patient, Peter McWilliams, who died earlier this year while awaiting similar federal sentencing.

"Todd has a spinal fusion - the top five vertebrae were fused when he was two-years-old. A tumor had completely eaten the vertebrae and the old fusion is now literally carving grooves in the base of his skull, prompting severe headaches as well. His left hip stopped growing when he was 9, a result of radiation treatments for childhood cancer. He has severe scoliosis, nerve damage in his upper back, shoulders and neck and severe muscle spasms in his lower back. He has received no medical treatment since January," said McCormick mother.

The concrete room he is in is small with only a bunk with a vinyl mattress and no sheets or pillow. Because of his back and neck problems Todd uses a special shaped and density pillow - which the prison does not allow at all. In solitary confinement he is not even allowed a standard-issue pillow.

He said there is a 3"x16" window which allows very little light or air, and that the room is oppressively hot and stifling during the day, and cold at night. The incident report rating used for his positive cannabinoid test is the same rating applied for murder. He must now go before a review board to discuss further action.

Here's how to get up-to-date information about Tod McCormick's situation:


You can write to McCormick here:

Todd Patrick McCormick

Inmate # 11071-112

P.O. Box 3007

Terminal Island, CA 90731


Donations can be sent here:


Todd P. McCormick Defense Fund

c/o NORML Foundation

1001 Connecticut Ave NW Suite 710

Washington, DC 20036


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