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7/19: Memorial Vigil for Steve McWilliams before Oakland City Council meeting
by via MN
Sunday Jul 17th, 2005 10:10 PM
When and Where: Tuesday, July 19, from 5:20 -7 PM at
the Frank Ogawa Plaza at Oakland City Hall (12th St.
/City Center BART).
Memorial Vigil for Steve McWilliams before Oakland
City Council meeting (7/19/05

Dear Friends and Activists,

Please join us locally to observe a nationwide
memorial vigil
coordinated by ASA to honor medical marijuana
activist/patient/caregiver Steve McWilliams (see
below for details on this tragedy).

When and Where: Tuesday, July 19, from 5:20 -7 PM at
the Frank Ogawa Plaza at Oakland City Hall (12th St.
/City Center BART).

If you care to share your thoughts and feelings about
Steve or to
express your outrage about the state of the
destructive Drug War that led him to take his own life
from pharmaceuticals, you will have the opportunity
to do so.

FOLLOWING THE VIGIL at 7 PM, you are invited to attend
the city council meeting where councilmembers will be
voting on an agenda item (#19) establishing Measure
Z's Oversight Committee, which will further the
process of implementing Measure Z.

Background: Americans for Safe Access reports: On July
12, 2005,
medical marijuana patient and lifelong advocate Steve
McWilliams committed suicide while awaiting federal
sentencing. Many of us remember Steve as the man who
organized and led the September 2002 public handout of
medical marijuana to patients at San Diego¹s City
Hall. As a result of this sort of ³balls to the
wall² activism, Steve was targeted by the DEA and
arrested on charges relating to the cultivation of 25
marijuana plants grown for the medical marijuana
collective he operated, Shelter from the Storm. He
pled guilty because he would have been prohibited
from presenting a valid medical marijuana defense in
Federal court.

Steve was sentenced to six months and released pending
appeal but
denied access to marijuana. He had been depressed and
was hospitalized in terrible pain as late as last
week. Steve¹s depression was apparently a
combination of factors ­ including dreadful thoughts
about going to prison and his deteriorating health.
He was taking powerful pharmaceuticals including
opiates, anti-nausea, anti-migraine and a variety of
other Œprescribed¹ drugs in far higher amounts than
when he was able to medicate with
marijuana. Evidently, these were the substances he
used to end his
life.

We choose to remember him for his compassion,
contributions and
inspirationto the movement and will use his memory to
rally support for reform.

Hope to see you there.

-- Mikki Norris, Director
Cannabis Consumers Campaign
http://www.cannabisconsumers.org/
Coordinator, Human Rights and the Drug War
http://www.hr95.org/
Co-author, _Shattered Lives: Portraits from America's
Drug War_
Co-author, _Human Rights and the Drug War_
Board Member, Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance
http://www.taxandregulate.org/