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Angeles County | Official Business / Courts and Government

Activist Jailed After Testing Positive for Pot

April 04, 1998

Medical marijuana activist Todd McCormick was jailed by a federal magistrate Friday after prosecutors said that he tested positive for the drug, violating a condition of bail in his pending trial for cultivating more than 4,000 cannabis plants.

Despite emotional pleas by McCormick and his lawyer that the government's test results were wrong, U.S. Magistrate James McMahon ordered the 27-year-old cancer victim taken into custody. A bail revocation hearing was set for April 22.

McCormick had been free on $500,000 bond since last July when federal drug agents raided a Bel-Air home where he was growing marijuana plants that he said were intended for medical use. Using marijuana for medical purposes became legal statewide with passage of Proposition 215 in 1996. Under terms of his bond, posted by actor Woody Harrelson, McCormick agreed to refrain from marijuana use and to undergo random drug tests. The order was broadened recently to include legally prescribed drugs, such as Marinol, that contain synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the essence of pot.

Defense lawyer Eric Shevin argued that it was unfair to deprive McCormick of his freedom before hearing from both sides' experts on what the tests really mean. He said the positive tests probably reflect Marinol still in McCormick's body.

Shevin filed an emergency appeal and said he hoped a hearing would be held Monday.

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