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Todd McCormick


Todd McCormick

Todd McCormick

Todd McCormick

Todd McCormick

Activist/Author, Traveler, Photographer, Friend to many; Born in Providence Rhode Island and raised mostly by my Grandmother I dealt with having cancer nine times in the eight years between the ages of two and ten. I say that upfront because it did shape me into being a very passionate person who is very honest and direct. Life is way too fucking short to be passive.

At age 20 I moved to Florida and combed the beaches for a year. Then at age 21 I moved to San Diego where I got into the political movement to legalize Cannabis/Hemp/Marihuana. I started out working on the 1994 cannabis hemp and health initiative when I discovered the potential of direct democracy.

In 1995 I opened the third medical outlet in California calling it “The San Diego Cannabis Compassion Club” and in an act of civil disobedience I grew flowers and gave them away to the seriously ill. After some harassment by the DEA (an oppressive organization of very questionable purposes) I moved to Amsterdam where I worked as editor in chief of a magazine about Cannabis called “Hemp Life”.

After the passage of medical marijuana proposition 215 in November 1996 in California, I decided to move back to California and work to help implement the new medical marijuana law. I teamed up with Peter McWilliams who was a best-selling author and also the victim of AIDS/cancer and started working on projects to disseminate information about medical marijuana. In July of 1997 I became the first person arrested under federal law for growing Cannabis after California voters passed the medical marijuana law giving its citizens the right to grow and possess Cannabis. Fortunately when the federal government raided me I had a lot of friends who came to my aid and assisted me in fighting the federal government for our rights. So in 97, 98 and 99 I fought the federal government for the rights of California voters and democracy. Right before trial in 1999 the judge ruled that I would not be able to mention to the jury that I had cancer 10 times (the 10th time was when I was 15), I couldn’t bring in my five doctors to testify why I was using and growing the cannabis, nor could I mention that the California law condoned my activities, or for that matter that the California law even existed. I also could not tell the jurors that the federal government has been growing medical cannabis at the University of Mississippi since the late sixties and that they distribute it to (at the time eight, now seven) American citizens for various medical conditions. Nor could I mention that I had gotten legal advice about my rights under both federal and state law before I ever planted a single seed. That would’ve been called “advice of counsel” meaning that there was no criminal intent on my part to break federal law. Had any of these topics gone before the jury of California voters I most certainly would not have been convicted for following the state law. The real lesson was that had I known that a judge could deny us any mention of defense I would have had zero faith in the system and not had taken the courts seriously. I now have zero faith in the system of (in)justice.

On January 3, 2000 I showed up in a suit and tie and self-surrendered and went to federal prison for what ended up being four solid years of confinement on the five-year sentence. I believe that if more people stood up and were willing to put their bodies on the line for what they believed in the world wouldn’t be in such a mess. While I had a wonderful time incarcerated, I am of course thrilled to be out of prison. I must say that my experience through prison was probably unique in that I had a lot of community support and received a ton of mail the entire time.

Now I am back in Los Angeles and really enjoying the mountains, the beaches and the people. I have a few different projects I am working on; one of which is a nonprofit called; Artists Helping End Marihuana Prohibition, see; ahemp.org, we are always looking for like-minded and talented people to work with. Peace, Hope and Hempyness!


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