(Soft Secrets - Issue 4 2003 - page 30)



In our previous two issues, Soft Secrets introduced several of the most prominent

help sites for victims of American anti-cannabis legislation, including

www.hr95.org, www.november.org, and www.Green-Aid.com. This installment

spotlights www.famm.org, which is the website for an active advocacy group called

Families Against Mandatory Minimums.



Julie Stewart, founder and president, was

recently awarded the Ford Foundation

Leadership award. The award honours

those who “[get] results tackling tough

social problems in the community.”

Mandatory minimum sentences were

introduced to Americans as a “tough love”

approach to the War on Drugs. “Illegal”

activity (no matter what the situation) is to

be punished with an aggressive sentencing

policy, probably to serve as a lesson to

enterprising youths. Medical cannabis

users are suffering in prison, deprived of

their organic medicine and in fact wasting

away in a cell because of their choice to

use it. Some doctors who have

recommended medical cannabis have lost

their licenses to practice medicine. In

many cases, those who provide relief to

terminally ill patients are convicted at

sentences several times more stringent

than those accused of murder, rape, or

armed robbery. Todd McCormick is just

one example.

Todd McCormick

Charge: Marijuana

Sentence: 10 year

mandatory minimum


(((Ed Note: The feds kept Todd in prison for about 5 years rather than the 10 which was "mandatory".

From their twisted point of view, they were treating him with kid gloves. Prison consciousness dominates.)))

Todd was arrested in July 1997 for

maintaining a medical cannabis garden at

his house in California. A medical patient,

grower, activist, author and former Soft

Secrets and Highlife editor, McCormick

has been suffering from cancer and

chronic pain at an early age. He was

treated for cancer nine times before he was

ten years old. While serving five years for

his garden, Todd was prohibited from

using medical cannabis while in prison.

He was prescribed Marinol, a synthetic

version of THC, which led to his testing

positive for cannabinoids. As solitary

confinement was the resulting punishment,

Todd was relegated to a small concrete

room with one bunk, a vinyl mat, and no

sheets or pillow. Uncomfortable

accommodations for even the healthiest of

individuals. At the age of two, Todd’s top

five vertebrae fused together, and tumour

complications prompted severe headaches.

As a result of radiation treatments, his left

hip stopped growing when he was nine

years old. Imagine living in solitary

confinement while suffering from severe

scoliosis, nerve damage in the upper back,

shoulders, and neck, and severe muscle

spasms in the lower back. The celebrated

author of How to Grow Medical

Marijuana viewed the world from a threeinch

by sixteen-inch window, stifling in

the day and freezing at night. Apparently

the “incident report rating” that is used to

sentence a positive cannabinoid test is the

same as that applied for murder. A friend,

Renee Boje, is an artist who was

employed to illustrate the abovementioned

book, and is now fighting

extradition from Canada back to the DEA.

She faces four charges amounting to ten

years to life in prison, for not much more

than allegedly watering a weed plant.

This charge is based on the testimony of a

DEA agent.